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Shirley Dean

Former mayor of Berkeley, California (voted out in the 2002 elections). Mayor Dean opposed the Berkeley city council resolution condemning the US military action in Afghanistan. The city council action resulted in several pending transactions, including real estate development, to be canceled, resulting in a loss of revenue for the city. Mayor Dean is working to mitigate the effects of the city council action. These effects evidently include grassroots consumer boycott of Berkeley based businesses, especially damaging in Berkeley because while Berkeley traditionally opposes the presence of large corporate entities in the city, the cost of living and doing business in Berkeley is nonetheless very high.

The irony in this is the law of unintended consequences. The residents of Berkeley are very well-trained in the use of boycott, a favorite local political tool.

In Berkeley, city politics takes the place sports takes in many other cities. Community participation is very strong. The current political situation is very interesting, because the 5/4 split and apparently widespread disapproval of the councils actions could result in a markedly different city after the next elections. While the election of a political conservative is unlikely, even the election of what most would consider political moderates would be locally noteworthy, and a swing to the center would be a very marked shift in Berkeley's tradition of radicalism.



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