Thinking about running for Berkeley City Council? You should! There are four seats open in this year’s election, and there’s generous public campaign financing available (see “Running For Berkeley City Council is Easier Than Ever“).
If you’re smart and capable, and want to make a difference, you’re probably busy and have lots of good options. So you may be asking:
- Do I want to invest my time and career in Berkeley?
- How much impact could I really have as a Berkeley City Council member?
- Shouldn’t I prioritize national issues right now?
Here’s my view:
1) Leadership excellence in Berkeley can offset national dysfunction. People need hope, and capable leaders to rally around. With strong leadership, we can accomplish great things in our own community. Plus, the eyes of the world are on Berkeley – that’s part of what makes us unique. When we do something innovative and successful, it can be a model for the rest of the world.
2) Berkeley’s small enough that you can get things done quickly. Unlike Sacramento or Washington, D.C., you can walk down the street in Berkeley and talk to people in person, build relationships, and follow things through quickly. That’s a great feeling.
3) Berkeley has unlimited talent and human potential to tap. Berkeley’s residents are some of the most capable and interesting people on the planet. Artists, teachers, entrepreneurs, scientists, students, experienced city employees… Berkeley has a city budget of about $340 million (not including schools). But our human potential is unlimited.
4) Berkeley may sometimes seem divided, but at heart, we’re united. Berkeley’s facing the same big challenges (economic and social) as most cities. Except here, there really isn’t an “us and them.” Across the board, Berkeley’s heart is in the right place. Which means good leaders should be able to rally us together to create innovative and compassionate solutions, that become so successful they’re widely adopted.
5) Berkeley’s next chapter is being written now, and you can help write it. Be the change you want to see, and be part of a new generation of leaders carrying forward the work of making Berkeley great. This means inspiring and rallying the people of Berkeley to engage, commit, innovate, build community, and succeed together.
What else would you rather be doing?