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LWV League of Women Voters of California Education Fund
Alameda County, CA November 2, 2004 Election
Smart Voter Full Biography for Jesse Townley

Candidate for
Council Member; City of Berkeley; Council District 5

This information is provided by the candidate

Jesse Townley was born in New Jersey in 1970, and grew up in Philadelphia, where he attended Quaker high school. The son of a jazz musician/writer and a librarian, Jesse came to Berkeley in 1989 and has lived here since. In addition to being a working musician, painter, and writer, Jesse has been a licensed Emergency Medical Technician.

A specialist in Disability Services, Jesse spent four years at Easy Does It, an agency that contracts with the City of Berkeley to provide emergency services to Disabled residents living independently. He was Executive Director in 2000-02, and served on the Board of Directors from 2000 through late 2003. He has also worked at Vantastic Wheelchair Accessible Transportation, Friendly Transportation, and Project Open Hand.

Jesse is a member of the City of Berkeley's Disaster Council, where he oversees the preparation for disability services in the event of an earthquake, hills fire, or other substantial disaster. Jesse believes that a real safety plan for Berkeley requires not only crime fighting, but also the community working together in consideration of the real dangers it faces, like earthquakes and hills fires.

Jesse has been a central part of the Berkeley Arts Nonprofit Community for 15 years. Jesse's experience as Secretary of the Board at 924 Gilman Street - which, along with Freight and Salvage and Ashkenaz, forms West Berkeley's nonprofit music community - has given him the practical knowledge that grassroots democracy and cooperative process can sustain successful institutions. Secretary since 1991, Jesse facilitates meetings and helps oversee the budget of this cooperatively run venue.

Additionally, Jesse works to ensure that West Berkeley development happens in a way that is consistent with the alcohol-free, all ages performances at 924 Gilman. In doing so, he works with City entities such as the Berkeley Police Department, the Planning Commission, the Zoning Adjustments Board, and the Office of Economic Development, as well as private entities such as the West Berkeley Association of Industrial Companies, Pyramid Brewery, the Page Street Neighbors, and the Berkeley Dispute Resolution Service (now East Bay Community Mediation).

A member of Berkeley Citizens Action, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Sign and Display Workers Union Local 510, and the Green Party, Jesse is an avid reader. He is producer of the KALX Radio Public Affairs program Soapbox Derby. He writes music columns for American Music Press and several other national magazines, plays street hockey regularly, and he had a split exhibit of his paintings with his wife Jane Townley in West Berkeley in 2000.

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Created from information supplied by the candidate: October 29, 2004 06:40
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