BCA's April 1981 City Council slate needed to win just one seat for a Council majority. It was an ill-fated dream for Walter Edwards, Carole Norris, Nancy Skinner, and the Reverend Gus Schulz.
Instead, these four candidates were subjected to the single most brutal, fear-smear attacks in modern Berkeley political history.
Berkeley Republicans, having deserted their establishment Democratic allies in 1979, were now brought back into the conservative coalition fold. The Republicans were rewarded with a new organization, the All Berkeley Coalition (ABC), which they would share with their Berkeley Democratic Club friends.
ABC meetings were the first public appearances of the Republicans alongside the Democrats, even though their alliance against the left was a decade old.
This move to the political right included nomination of a more conservative ticket, featuring Leo Bach. Having satisfied the Republicans, ABC was in a poor position to campaign as liberal, the traditional BDC tactic.
Instead the conservatives greatly escalated attacks upon BCA as so dangerously radical that the destruction of Berkeley was certain if BCA won another Council seat.
BCA's record was distorted, its issues and candidates ignored, as off-duty Berkeley police went door-to-door scaring voters into believing that BCA policies were pro-crime. This was the Berkeley Police Association's entry into city politics, although virtually no Berkeley cops lived here. The landlords also joined ABC's crusade.
Three separate conservative organizations, including the Republicans, deluged Berkeley voters with mailers villifying BCA. This helped ensure a healthy right wing turnout in April 1981.
BCA hired a professional campaign manager who sent out targeted mailers. They were no match for the climate of fear created by ABC.
On April 21, 1981, the All Berkeley Coalition repeated the 1977 right wing sweep of four Council seats, firmly re-establishing its control of City Hall.
BCA's slate was led, in fifth place, by Nancy Skinner, the first female UC student candidate. Although Nancy became the sixth student to lose, all the rest had been the weakest on their respective slates. In the 1981 disaster, Nancy Skinner was BCA's top vote getter. She might have a political future, if BCA survived that long.