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A Father's Words

Porter Kirkwood

I clearly remember the day when my daughter, Cheryl, packed her things and prepared to leave for Berkeley, CA.  It was the most important decision she ever made.  She would be totally on her own with most of her family on the East coast.  My parental fears were not totally washed away by confidence in her ability to take care of herself.  But a father needs to acknowledge when it is appropriate to be supportive and let go.  In the years that followed, Cheryl Kirkwood became Cheryl Davila, mother to Armando and Spencetta and Berkeley city councilwoman.      

Councilwoman Cheryl Davila moved to Berkeley because she saw something here that was absent in many other cities and towns around the country.  She saw a community that welcomed new ideas, that encouraged diversity, a place that had historically led the nation by taking a progressive position on freedom, equality and social justice. Berkeley had survived the struggles of the 60’s with a positive outlook for the future. In Berkeley she worked, raised her kids and completed her college education. Her hard work and character did not go un-noticed resulting in her being called to serve the city as member of the Human Rights Commission. She served in this position for nine years until she formulated a proposal which was consistent with Berkeley’s history.  When told to withdraw her proposal, Cheryl refused to submit to special interests.  She believed in the democratic process which allows one to present their proposal to the appropriate body where it can be fully debated and judged on its merits before being rejected or passed to the legislative entity that determines policy. Taking a stand in support of democracy resulted in her being terminated from the commission creating a firestorm of protest with her supporters urging her to run for the seat on the city council, she did and she won.

Her election plunged her into the political world where she has fought to best serve and represent all the people of her district.  Cheryl Davila takes representing the community she serves seriously. Though the position of councilperson is part/time, Cheryl works full/time.  She is not an affluent person who decided to dabble in public service in her spare time. She is a person whose economic position is close to that of the people she serves. She understands her district because she is literally one of them. The New York Congresswoman, AOC, told her constituents to vote for people who understand you and your conditions. That is good advice. 

Cheryl Davila is smart, thorough and honest–characteristics not often applied to people in politics. Added to this is the ability to see the whole picture, to connect the dots, to see how one part of a process is connected to another and to sense the direction in which the whole process is going.  She is not fooled by smoke and mirrors which is unsettling to those who stand in her way. All of these are great qualities for the people’s representative.

Councilwoman Cheryl Davila is deeply committed to serving the interests of the people in her district, not the special interests who are looking to advance their economic investments in the community. These people have a right to advance their economic endeavors but not at the expense of the people who live in the district. Cheryl Davila has been the champion of the people by trying to address all the issues that relate to the wellbeing of the community.  Those who watch the meetings where these issues are discussed have observed the treatment of Councilwoman Davila.  One could get the impression that serving the people puts a target on one’s back.

Get out and vote for Councilwoman Cheryl Davila.  She is your best hope for ensuring that your voice will be heard.

Keith Nickolaus

In the 20 years my family has lived in District 2, this is the first time we want to ring doorbells for a city council candidate. As advocates for meaningful police reform and for hastening a too-long-deferred political reckoning with racism, anti-Black hatred, and mainstream hypocrisy, our family enthusiastically supports Cheryl Davila’s re-election for Berkeley City Council District 2.

I know many are wondering if we are witnessing a historical movement or just a “moment” with regard to confronting racism. The question is: will we seize this moment, or will technocratic “liberal” incrementalism rule the day while Black lives continue to hang in the balance?

What does all this have to do with Berkeley’s District 2 2020 council election, you ask?

At the July 2020 city council meeting, legions of Berkeley residents testified until past 2:00 a.m., urgently pleading the mayor and council to take meaningful action on police reform.

This was more than an any-ol’ extra-innings council meeting. It was a defining opportunity for real change at the local level defined by some of the largest nation-wide civil rights protests in US history.

Little surprise… the moment was not seized.

Cheryl Davila alone had the will to vote to redirect significant funds from police to other solutions. The mayor and other council members rebuffed Davila, the citizens, the BLM movement, and the national call for real change—opting to defer action until some undefined future. Ironically, many pieces of the omnibus measure that did pass still owed much to Davila’s authorship.

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Armando Davila

My mother works harder than anyone I know. She is in countless meetings, working long hours, reading thousand-page agenda packets, speaking at rallies, protests and marches, drafting legislation, holding community events, public office hours, helping constituents deal with every issue imaginable and bearing the emotional burden of pushing her colleagues to take principled positions that they are too afraid to do on their own. Look at her website and go through her list of achievements and her current platform. It’s comprehensive and vast.

She is keeping Berkeley’s poorest residents alive by expanding shower programs and extending shelter hours, delivering food, watchdogging the city’s execution of city services, arguing against over-policing and against further criminalization and excessive fines.

She created a legacy event called Caring for the Community in which residents and unhoused people would discuss the current housing crisis, hear stories from people, sharing the history of redlining in Berkeley and confronting racist-classist animosity. She has been the voice of conscience shaming us when people’s rights and needs are violated. When people on the streets died of old age, sickness and despair she held vigils, honoring their lives and holding space for community grief, reminding us that their lives mattered while many of us grow numb to those struggling in our midst. She knows that the city has proportionately overbuilt market-rate housing, and underbuilt affordable housing. When housing issues come up at council meetings, she is the pragmatist, holding developers accountable as they try to wiggle out of affordable housing requirements. Because of her advocacy, Berkeley got a grant to build 64 units of affordable housing at San Pablo and Blake Street.

She succeeded in her campaign promise of promoting mental health professionals to respond to mental health calls in the shadow of Kayla Moore’s death, a black trans-woman who died at the hand of Berkeley police for what was a mental health emergency. In 2016, she stood with activists to get Berkeley Police Department out of Urban Shield, an event where military-grade weapons were showcased and SWAT teams would target cutouts of people of color. It also furthered the trend of  the militarization of police. She attended Urban Shield herself as an observer through her work on the ad-hoc subcommittee responsible for reviewing BPD’s participation in the conference and then marched against it outside.

When a shooting occurred in her district, she held two meetings for the community. The first was packed, as fear and concern were high. The second meeting was sparsely attended, more intimate and solution-oriented. The participants were longtime residents of the district and predominantly black. Out of this came Voices Against Violence, a violence prevention program focused on the arts and mentorship for Berkeley youth run by leaders of African-American churches. She pushed for a gun buyback program with the mayor.

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Kelly Hammargren

Cheryl Davila won the District 2 Council seat in 2016 in a totally unexpected upset against an incumbent who held that seat for 12 years. She was not “groomed” by the insiders for the position, unlike so many who run for office in Berkeley, and it was obvious pretty quickly that she wasn’t going to roll over and vote with the bloc like her predecessor. When Cheryl got her footing, she started marching forward on the gut issues: climate, poverty, homelessness, policing and racism. 

Cheryl graduated from Mills College with academic honors and a B.A. in Business Economics on top of years of work to back up that degree. Cheryl knows how to read spread sheets, financials and budgets, adding another layer to challenge the status quo by understanding how our tax money is spent. 

Cheryl challenged the comfort zone by bringing forward the issues we need to deal with, and not with little tweaks or placating sounding resolutions that do little or nothing. The Climate Emergency Declaration in June 2018 may sound like one more resolution, but this laid the ground for the Climate Emergency Mobilization Task Force (CEMTF). Right from the start Cheryl took the lead in an effort that has pulled in elected officials, climate-focused organizations and individuals from across the Bay Area. When Mayor Arreguin killed the ad-hoc City Council committee on Climate Emergency in February 2019, Cheryl did not give up. The committee renamed itself to the Climate Emergency Mobilization Task Force and it has continued to grow as do the declarations of a climate emergency. CEMTF is offering the Fourth Virtual Summit for an Environmentally Just and Regenerative Future on Friday, October 23. 

Cheryl has her eyes open to actions and solutions put forward around the country, some even happening next door in Oakland, like the City Council’s Tuesday evening Agenda Item 22, community Refrigerators for the food insecure. It should get passed, but who knows. 

Cheryl makes it uncomfortable for those trying to polish up their progressive image while shining up to the money that feeds and supports their campaigns. 

That leads to the latest surprise: Out of town money is coming to Berkeley. It looks like the real estate industry has its eyes on District 2. 

Take a look at the online record of independent election expenditures, the “PAC” funding not tied to specific candidates (https://public.netfile.com/pub2/?aid=BRK) 

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Bernie Sanders

PRESS RELEASE: Sanders Endorses 19 Down-Ballot Candidates in California

October 9, 2020
Contact: press@berniesanders.com

BURLINGTON — Sen. Bernie Sanders announced Friday his endorsement of 19 California candidates running for state legislature and city- and county-level positions in the general election.

“Our campaign was never about one election or one candidate,” Sanders said. “The only way our movement can continue is if we work together to elect great, progressive candidates at every level of government, in every state in this country. I am proud to endorse these excellent leaders who will make a difference in the lives of Californians. Together we will create a California and a nation based on social justice, racial justice, economic justice, and environmental justice for all.”

Sanders’ endorsements include:

  • Kansen Chu for Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors, District 3
  • Abigail Medina for State Senate, District 23
  • Alex Lee for State Assembly, District 25
  • Ash Kalra for State Assembly, District 27
  • Reggie Jones-Sawyer for State Assembly, District 59
  • Fatima Iqbal-Zubair for State Assembly, District 64
  • Lacei Amodei for City Council, Hayward
  • Nestor Castillo for City Council, Hayward
  • Elisha Crader for City Council, Hayward
  • Cheryl Davila for City Council, Berkeley
  • Carroll Fife for City Council, Oakland
  • Nithya Raman for City Council, Los Angeles
  • Suely Saro for City Council, Long Beach
  • Tunua Thrash-Ntuk for City Council, Long Beach
  • Cari Templeton for City Council, Palo Alto
  • Jovanka Beckles for AC Transit Board of Directors, Ward 1
  • Holly Mitchell for Board of Supervisors, Los Angeles County
  • Al Clark for Vice-Mayor, Carpinteria
  • George Gascón for District Attorney, Los Angeles County

To date, Sanders has endorsed more than 200 candidates running for local, state and federal office across the country during the 2020 cycle.

We strongly endorse Cheryl Davila and recommend she be ranked #1. Read her responses to our questionnaire—the only candidate who replied. If you feel the need to rank the other candidates, please read our analysis of them at the end of this article. We recommend NOT ranking the others— especially NOT Alex Sharenko!

Cheryl Davila is by far the most progressive candidate in the field, consistently demonstrating her dedication to enlightened politics since her election in 2016. We would also rank her as the most progressive member of the City Council—filling the shoes of Max Anderson to become the new Conscience of the Council. She has championed causes for South Berkeley, spoken out against the gentrification policies pushed by the City Manager, advocated for the homeless, fought for affordable housing, and denounced police militarization and police harassment of people of color, the homeless, and those in mental crises. Her voting record is exemplary—always choosing the moral position over pandering to the wealthy and developers. She has the strongest environmental voting record on the Council. Most recently, Cheryl pushed the Council to eliminate tear gas and other pain compliance devices from the police, and had the foresight to make the only “defunding police” proposal that didn’t just kick the can down the road. Cheryl has also shown the courage to stand up to the Mayor and other Council members who have regularly marginalized and disrespected her during Council meetings. Cheryl is by far the best candidate for Council in all districts and deserves a #1 ranking.

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Dr. James McFadden

In this election, there is one incumbent member of the Berkeley City Council who truly deserves to be re-elected – Cheryl Davila of District 2. Cheryl Davila is by far the most progressive candidate in the field, consistently demonstrating her dedication to enlightened politics since her election in 2016. It was with heavy heart that I learned that Max Anderson would retire in 2016. Max was the Conscience of the Council. Who would fill his shoes? The answer became clear only a few months into 2017. Cheryl Davila became the new Conscience of the Council. She has championed causes for South Berkeley, spoken out against the gentrification policies pushed by the City Manager, advocated for the homeless, fought for affordable housing, and denounced police militarization and police harassment of POC, the homeless, and those in mental crises. Her voting record is exemplary – always choosing the moral position over pandering to the wealthy and developers. She has the strongest environmental voting record on the Council. Most recently, Cheryl pushed the Council to eliminate tear gas and other pain compliance devices from the police, and she had the foresight to make the only “defunding police” proposal that didn’t just kick the can down the road.

Cheryl has shown courage in standing up to the Mayor and other Council members who have regularly marginalized and disrespected her during Council meetings. As the Conscience of the Council, Cheryl frames her vote in terms of a moral choice rather than a bureaucratic, business decision. Such framing has left the mayor and some Council members embarrassed and angry. Attempts to silence her during Council meetings are legend, with the public often erupting in protest, demanding to “let her speak.” And unlike previous elections where Council members cross-endorsed each other, in this election the majority of Council members are determined to rid themselves of this thorn in their side. They want to remove Cheryl because she dares to identify the moral underpinnings of decisions that impact the community. But the real progressive community leaders know better, which is why Cheryl has the endorsements of Max Anderson, Gus Newport, Jovanka Beckles, Barbara Brust, Moni Law, Rev. Michael Smith, and Ms. Richie Smith – just to name a few. 

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Richmond Progressive Alliance

RPA Activist 293: Voter guide for 2020 local elections | Progressive Cheryl Davila running for re-election in Berkeley

rpa
Although the Richmond Progressive Alliance generally does not endrse candidates that Richmond residents cannot vote for, it’s important to support progressive political allies. In particular, having allies in other Bay Area cities makes it easier to collaborate on issues of regional importance, such as homelessness; and to advance visionary proposals like an East Bay public bank.

In September 2020, the RPA Steering Committee passed a resolution urging members to give as much support as they can to Berkeley City Councilmember Cheryl Davila, who is running for re-election this year.

Davila has been a champion of strong policy proposals, especially on climate change, housing and racial justice. She led the way on Berkeley’s Climate Emergency Declaration, the third one in the country. Many cities followed suit, including Richmond, El Cerrito, Oakland and San Francisco. She also founded the Climate Emergency Mobilization Task Force, which brings together municipalities, elected officials, and community organizations throughout the Bay Area to unify efforts to enact climate emergency mobilization. To get a sense of her level of ambition on climate change, she also initiated a Fossil Free Resolution, which attempted to commit Berkeley to becoming carbon negative by 2030.

Davila is also known as a leader on fighting homelessness. She established a regional task on homelessness, which brings together faith leaders, nonprofit organizations, and housed and unhoused community members. She actively supports affordable housing and believes that, until more truly affordable units become available, cities should provide tiny homes, promote accessory dwelling units, sanctioned encampments, and safe parking for RV dwellers.

If you know people who live in Berkley’s Ward 2 (South Berkeley/ Poets Corner area: south of University to Ashby, and west of Sacramento), please urge them to support Cheryl!

Cheryl founded the task force as a regional coalition of elected officials, city & county staff, youth, environmental activists, social activists, and front line communities to address the inequities and causes of the climate emergency.

The task force had the first of it’s five part series which brings together speakers and experts from different fields to have a conversation with attendees. The goal of this series is to create a list of actionable items on a multitude of topics that can be implemented at the community, organizational, city, and state levels.

There will be a final wrap-up webinar that will consolidate all of the action items and suggestions made during the workshops into legislation or continuation working groups.

To get involved or sign up for the next summit, please visit https://cemtf.org/

Here are the recordings from Summit #1 “Sustainable & Healthy Cities”

Carol Denney

Two different Berkeley neighborhoods reported incidents of Black Lives Matter signs being torn down in the last month, the same month The Way Christian Center on University Avenue was set on fire hours after placing a Black Lives Matter sign across its entrance. The Berkeley police investigated it as arson since “nobody was hurt.” 

The chilling recognition that racism in Berkeley can take the same form it has taken against Black churches for hundreds of years and go unrecognized by Berkeley police clarifies several things. We need more informed leadership in the Berkeley Police Department and the City Manager’s office. We need to stand taller with Black churches and activists who speak out for justice. And we need to re-elect Cheryl Davila to the Berkeley City Council. 

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Victoria Stafford

Berkeley City Councilmember Cheryl Davila is seeking reelection for 2020 and hopes to “change business as usual.”

As the only Black woman on the Berkeley City Council, Davila led efforts to ban tear gas use by the Berkeley Police Department and declared racism to be a public health crisis. With a second term, Davila aims to “transform” policing by diverting 50% of its funding to mental health and substance abuse services.

“I raise the issues that need to be lifted up,” Davila said in an email. “Four years isn’t long enough to accomplish goals, especially with the bureaucracy in the equation.”

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Watch our fifth Right to Health Web-In “COVID, Climate & Community: Making Connections to Achieve Justice for All.” We used a participatory, community-centered lens to explore how COVID-19 and climate are connected. After learning from a panel of speakers with extensive experience in community mobilization, climate justice, and One Health, we organized into interactive small groups that envision and co-create sustainable solutions to optimize planetary health, prevent future pandemics, and achieve justice for all. By cultivating models for effective collaboration within our diverse global community, together we will build momentum for a transformative movement that directly links environmental sustainability with human health.

Thank you to these wonderful leaders for their time, insight and expertise:

  • Dr. Tinashe Goronga: Medical Doctor from Zimbabwe
  • Tatiane Sousa, PhD: Brazilian ecologist – Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim: Environmental Activist
  • Maya Menezes: Senior Manager of Programming and Development at The Leap
  • Cheryl Davila: Berkeley City Councilmember representing District 2

Judy Greenspan

[…]

The only city government member who responded to the students is District 2 City Councilmember Cheryl Davila, who crafted a real plan with timelines to immediately begin defunding BPD by 50%. A coalition of students, community organizations and anti-racist activists have coalesced around this demand.

On June 9, Black students led a militant march through Berkeley to address a special City Council meeting focused on the Black Lives Matter movement. That night, the council voted to prohibit the use of any tear gas during the COVID-19 pandemic. When media asked Berkeley Chief Greenwood what police would do to stop demonstrators if they couldn’t use tear gas, he said, “Firearms. We can shoot people.” (Berkeleyside, July 14)

Angered by Greenwood’s response, Black high school students from Oakland and Berkeley continued to organize and marched to the Berkeley Police Department on July 13. They “camped out” in front of the BPD until 11 p.m. that night to support Councilmember Davila’s resolution to defund the BPD.

People back call to defund cops 
The next day, over 300 people participated in the City Council meeting either in person or via Zoom. The audience overwhelmingly backed Davila’s resolution to defund. Many people criticized the council for refusing to vote no confidence for the police chief. The council bypassed Davila’s resolution and passed a series of weaker resolutions limiting the participation of the police in traffic stops and mental health calls. However, none of the resolutions that were passed addressed the broader issues of police brutality and the cops’ systemic racism.

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