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November 8, 2016 — California General Election

City of BerkeleyCandidate for Mayor

Photo of Laurie Capitelli

Laurie Capitelli

Berkeley City Councilmember, District 5
19,401 votes (33.1%)
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Housing affordable for low income and moderate income residents, in the downtown and major corridors linked to transit
  • Healthy children and families: income equality, universal preschool, access to quality education, park iimprovements and public safety
  • Vibrant and green downtown and commercial corridors: economic development, community open space, safe access for bikes and pedestrians.



Profession:Berkeley City Councilmember
City Council Member District 5, Berkeley City Council — Elected position (2004–current)
Board Member, City of Berkeley Zoning Adjustments Board — Appointed position (2000–2004)
Commissioner, City of Berkeley Planning Commission — Appointed position (1996–2000)


UC Berkeley Bachelor of Arts, Political Science (1968)

Community Activities

Commissioner, Alameda County Transportation Commission (2011–current)
Boardmember, The Berkeley Public Schools Fund (1991–2016)





Born in Berkeley, I am the first son of Annette and George Capitelli.  My father was an Italian immigrant who struggled to find his place in this country.  I learned from my father the values of hard work, respect and community.  

I attended John Muir Elementary School as a young child, moved away, and returned to Berkeley in the 1960’s to attend Cal, majoring in political science.  I married my college sweetheart Marilyn in 1968.  We bought a house on Sonoma Ave, had two children - Sarah and Matthew -  both of whom attended Berkeley public schools.  I am now the proud grandfather of four grandchildren, one of whom attends Jefferson Elementary, the other to attend next fall.

As a teacher in an east bay high school - my first career - I learned how critically important equitable educational opportunities are for all kids.  My eight years in the classroom transformed me into a lifelong advocate for public schools and our hardworking teachers, and years later inspired me to join the Berkeley Public Schools Fund board.  I am proud to say that for over 25 years my board colleagues and I have raised millions of dollars for public school projects and direct classroom assistance.

Most of my adult working life has been spent as a realtor helping people buy their homes in Berkeley.  I am honored to have had the opportunity to help facilitate what is for many the most important purchase they ever make, providing security for their families and an investment in their community.   

For many years Marilyn co-owned Avenue Books in the Elmwood.  In 1991 when we learned that the Elmwood Theater might close and be demolished, I rallied several neighbors and theater supporters to establish a nonprofit in order to buy and save the theater.  We did it!  It is still showing films and continues to be the iconic anchor establishment of the neighborhood.

In the late 1990’s I started my life in public service by accepting an appointment to the Planning Commission.  I served there for four years, then served four years on the Zoning Adjustments Board.  As a commissioner I learned how careful and thoughtful city planning can improve people’s lives, stimulate our local economy, and enable us all to move towards more sustainable lifestyles.

In 2004 I ran for City Council and have since represented District 5, the north Berkeley district that includes North Shattuck and Solano Avenue.  These, like all Berkeley’s neighborhood shopping areas, are an important part of our economy, but also critical to our sense of neighborhood and community identity.  I’m proud to say that during my tenure I spearheaded traffic safety efforts, bulb-outs to use for community spaces, dozens of new trees and landscaping, and carefully negotiated with Safeway so that the impacts to the neighborhood of their Shattuck remodel would be minimal.  I also developed Berkeley’s pilot parklet program.   You can see examples in front of Saul's, the Cheeseboard and coming soon: Pegasus Books on Solano Ave.

In 2008, as my Council responsibilities became the central focus of my life, I stepped away from my active work as a realtor and business manager.  The next year I had an opportunity to collaborate with the neighborhood group “Friends of King Park” to complete major park improvements including a new climbing structure.  I also participated in Vision 2020 focusing on kids aged 0 to 5 years.  The research was clear: the achievement gap evident in our schools starts when children are young – before they even begin kindergarten. I am committed to ensuring every child has the opportunity to succeed, which is why I support universal preschool and a healthy start for all children.   

In 2014, I gathered together a broad coalition of community members and elected officials to take on BIG Soda. Measure D passed with over 75% of the vote, making Berkeley the first city in the nation to pass a sugar-sweetened beverage tax!  In its first year the tax brought in over $1.5 million for children’s nutrition programs and the schools’ gardening programs. With the success of the Berkeley Measure, many cities across the nation are looking to us to achieve similar results.  I have consulted with Philadelphia, Oakland, Albany, and Boulder, Colorado. 

I am proud of my accomplishments made through my service to our community, our kids, and Berkeley’s future. I am honored to run for Mayor -  to continue this important work, but more importantly, to find new and innovative ways to create a vibrant and successful city we all call home.




Who supports this candidate?

Featured Endorsements

  • League of Conservation Voters of the East Bay
  • Robert Reich, UC Professor and Former Secretary of Labor
  • The Berkeley Democratic Club

Organizations (4)

  • East Bay Forward
  • Berkeley Police Association
  • Berkeley Firefighters IAFF Local 1277
  • The Alameda County Building Trades Council

Elected Officials (3)

  • Tom Bates, Mayor City of Berkeley
  • Loni Hancock, California State Senator
  • Nancy Skinner, Former Assemblymember

Individuals (9)

  • Carole Kennerly, Former Vice Mayor, City of Berkeley
  • Karen Chapple, Professor, UC Berkeley
  • Susan Medak, Managing Director, Berkeley Repertory Theater
  • Xavier Morales, Co-Chair, Latinos Unidos de Berkeley
  • Markos Moulitsas Zuniga, Founder, Daily Kos
  • Michael Lewis, Author
  • Michele Lawrence, Former Superintendent of Berkeley Schools
  • Dave Campbell, Advocacy Director, Bike East Bay
  • Malcolm Margolin, Former Publisher, Heyday Press

Political Beliefs

Political Philosophy

A city’s government should represent the range of its citizenry and reflect the diversity of voices, communities, and ideals embodied within it.  It should be responsive to, and reflect the needs of its residents.  Decisions should be made in a collaborative manner based upon objective evidence and community input.  Annual budgets should be balanced and an adequate financial reserve in place for emergencies.


The priorities of municipal government should be to:

  • Insure public safety, including crime prevention, disaster preparedness and fire safety.

  • Provide systems, infrastructure and services that maintain public health.

  • Provide equitable educational opportunities for its children.

  • Identify and provide resources for those in need including affordable housing, and health and social services.

  • Provide and maintain infrastructure that improves citizens’ quality of life including parks, libraries and community centers.

  • Provide and maintain infrastructure that facilitates safe transit, including streets, sidewalks, bike lanes, buses and rapid transit.

  • Promote policies that provide jobs and financial stability for workers.

  • Encourage economic development that provides local jobs, commercial resources, community centers and a broad tax base.

Coordinate when necessary with regional partners to address challenges that cross city and county borders.

Videos (5)

— October 7, 2016 Laurie Capitelli for Berkeley Mayor 2016 Campaign

Xavier Morales, Co-Director of Latinos Unidos, worked closely with Laurie in the passage of the first in the nation Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Tax in Berkeley. To learn more about Laurie Capitelli and his run for Mayor of Berkeley visit:

Vicki Alexander, former Health Officer of the City of Berkeley, has worked with Laurie for years to address resources for children 0 to 5 throughout Berkeley. To learn more about Laurie Capitelli and his run for Mayor of Berkeley visit:

— October 7, 2016 Laurie Capitelli for Berkeley Mayor 2016 campaign

Lori Droste Supports Laurie Capitelli for Berkeley Mayor. They have worked tirelessly to address the housing crisis and address the need to build more affordable housing. 

— October 7, 2016 Laurie Capitelli for Berkeley Mayor 2016 campaign


Charles O'Neil and Laurie Capitelli have worked together on a number of projects, including his most recent and biggest venture yet- Books in the Shop. This program makes books for all ages accessible to kids throughout the East Bay. To learn more about Laurie and his run for Berkeley Mayor visit:

— October 7, 2016 Laurie Capitelli for Berkeley Mayor 2016 campaign


Kristen Collins, Former Teacher and Retired Principal of Berkeley Arts Magnet Elementary School, talks about Laurie's involvement in addressing education and his work with the Berkeley Public Schools Fund. Learn more about Laurie Capitelli and his run for Mayor by visiting:

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