Voter's Edge California Voter Guide
Get the facts before you vote.
Brought to you by
League of Women Voters of California Education Fund
California Common Cause@CommonCauseCA
November 8, 2016 — California General Election
We depend on your support.
Share your knowledge

Text VOTE to 52000 to donate $10.

Do you feel better informed having used Voter's Edge?

Help us inform other voters.


City of AlbanyCandidate for City Council

Photo of Michael Barnes

Michael Barnes

3,589 votes (18.61%)Winning
Use tab to activate the candidate button. Use "return" to select this candidate. You can access your list by navigating to 'My Choices'.
For more in-depth information on this candidate, follow the links for each tab in this section. For most screenreaders, you can hit Return or Enter to enter a tab and read the content within.
Candidate has provided information.
Thank candidate for sharing their information on Voter's Edge.

My Top 3 Priorities

  • Continue to maintain the basics of modern civilization -- streets, sewers, fire and police services, clean water and safe energy.
  • Complete our new public works center and Pierce Street Park.
  • Implement parking reforms and encourage the development of affordable and market-rate housing.



Profession:University of California science editor and writer
Science Editor and Writer, UC Berkeley College of Chemistry (2006–current)
Council member, Albany City Council — Elected position (2012–current)
Research Analyst, UC Office of the President (1996–2006)
School board member, Albany Unified School District — Elected position (2002–2006)
Graduate Student Researcher, Graduate Student Instructor, Acting Instructor, UC Berkeley Dept. of Economics (1989–1996)
Economic Analyst, Budget Analyst, Department of Social and Health Services, State of Washington (1986–1989)


UC Berkeley Economics, ABD (all but dissertation), Econometrics, International Trade, Tech Tranfser (1993)
UMASS Amherst M.A., Political Economy (1986)
The Evergreen State College B.A. Liberal Arts, Economics (1984)

Community Activities

Ride leader, Santa Rosa Cycling Club (2010–current)

Who supports this candidate?

Featured Endorsements

  • Allan Maris, former mayor and school board member
  • Doug Donaldson, Planning and Zoning Commission

Elected Officials (3)

  • Hon. Peter Maass, Albany Mayor
  • Hon. Rochelle Nason, City Council
  • Hon. Peggy McQuaid, City Council

Political Beliefs

Position Papers

Ballot statement


My 200-word ballot statement.

Thirty years ago I started my public-sector career as a budget analyst for the State of Washington. I moved to the Bay Area in 1989 for economics grad school at UC Berkeley. Six years later I moved to UC Village in Albany with my young son, Max (AHS 2010, Berkeley 2014). I began working as a research analyst for the UC Office of the President 20 years ago. For the last 11 years I have been the science editor for Berkeley’s renowned College of Chemistry. I will retire next year. I bought our Albany bungalow in 2000. I served on the school board from 2002-06 and I have been on the city council since 2012. I apply my years of experience to thoughtful analysis of policy alternatives. I always keep in mind that I represent the interests of all 18,000 Albany residents. The current city council has been very productive. Residents can once again safely use the Albany Bulb, and the UC Village mixed-use project is well underway. But there is more work to be done. With your support, I’ll keep working for Albany for another four years.

Council accomplishments


A brief summary of what the Albany City Council has accomplished in the last four years.

The last four years have been good ones for the council. The Albany Bulb is once again safe to enjoy. The mixed-use project at University Village is well underway. We have started work on our new public works center and will soon begin work on Pierce St. Park. We have repaired sidewalks throughout the city and have installed traffic calming features on the streets south of El Cerrito Plaza. Our general plan is finished, the council has improved cell phone coverage and has put an end to the excessive level of medical and other benefits that the previous council had created for themselves. We have negotiated fair and reasonable agreements with our police and fire fighters.

This council has placed two important measures on the November ballot that I favor — Measure P1, a parcel tax to fund sidewalk repairs for 10 years, and Measure N1, which will allow the the City Council to update parking standards to encourage affordable housing development. Two other measures, Q1 and R1, are housekeeping amendments to modernize our city charter language. These are uncontroversial and also deserve your support. I do not support Measure O1, the soda tax, or Measure S1, which will end our very reasonable term limits for the school board. The city council is not interested in ending term limits for itself. I discuss my reasons on my website. I also encourage you to vote for Meaure A1, Alameda County’s bond measure to support affordable housing.

Like the rest of Alameda County and much of the Bay Area, Albany is in the midst of an affordable housing crisis and will be for many years. Although the council will tackle many smaller problems during the next four years, housing — and how to maintain Albany’s unpretentious, family-oriented, middle-class identity — will be the issue that dominates and influences all the others.

As a council member, I believe the best way to do my job is by maintaining my independence. I am a registered non-partisan voter, and I only accept endorsements from individuals I respect inside our borders. The only “stakeholders” I care about are the 18,000 Albany residents I swore to serve in my oath of office.

My city council blog


I have written several entries and thousands of words on city council policy and decisions.

Please see, my city council blog.

Please share this site to help others research their voting choices.