Berkeley's city government had a Republican majority from its early years until 1961, when liberal candidates backed by the Berkeley Democratic Club gained control of Berkeley's City Council and School Board and began to take actions to end de facto racial segregation and to deal with social problems such as unemployment and lack of affordable housing. During the late 1960s Berkeley's Democrats became deeply divided over the war in Vietnam and over demands for black power. By the 1970s city politics were divided between two loose coalitions: the "moderates" centered in the affluent Hills, while the "progressives" formed in a group called the April Coalition and later organized on a more permanent basis as Berkeley Citizens Action.

In 1971 three progressive candidates, two of them African-American, were elected to the nine-member Berkeley City Council. From that point on, whether they held a majority or not, the progressives had major influence on city policies and were often able to get the voters to pass initiatives when the Council would not approve their proposals.

Recent Submissions

  • Kirshner at Cornell, 1981 

    Kirshner, Edward (1981)
    Edward Kirshner was co-author with Eve Bach, Thomas Brom, Julia Estrella and Lenny Goldberg of The Cities' Wealth, an important statement of alternative municipal policy and governance as applicable to Berkeley, CA in 1975. ...
  • Running the City for the People 

    Bach, Eve; Carbone, Nicholas R.; Clavel, Pierre (1982)
    In 1980 Pierre Clavel was finishing a manuscript on planning in the context of regional social movements in Wales and Appalachia, and had also been in touch with neighborhood organizers and their city hall supporters in ...
  • The Cities Wealth: Programs for Community Economic Control in Berkeley, California 

    Bach, Eve; Brom, Thomas; Estrella, Julia; Goldberg, Lenny; Kirshner, Ed (National Conference on Alternative State and Local Public Policies, 1976-11)
    Reflecting on a decade of radical and progressive coalition politics led Berkeley Citizen’s Action (BCA), a group of activists affiliated with elected councilmembers John Denton, Loni Hancock and Ying Lee Kelley, and ...

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