• U.S.

The Nation: Welcome to the System

1 minute read

FOR years the more moderate citizens of Berkeley, Calif., urged the town’s sizable radical element to drop the politics of confrontation and try to work within the system. With a well-organized campaign, the radicals did just that. By the scant margin of 56 votes, Berkeley last week elected its first black mayor: Warren Widener, 33, a suave former city council member and protégé of radical Black Congressman Ronald Dellums. The insurgents also gained three of four available seats on the city council, bringing it to an even 4-4 split between leftists and moderates.

The victory scarcely signified a revolution in Berkeley politics. There are bound to be important changes, but the goals of Widener and the radicals are not the furniture of barricades: renewed proposals for community control of police, a city income tax on incomes above $12,000 to ease the current property tax, a special referendum calling for the 18-year-old vote, and a Viet Nam peace initiative.

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