The new 8-1 BCA Council majority was not sufficiently charitable to its adversaries. Neighborhood people who opposed the Council's low-income housing projects felt unfairly publicly insulted by some BCA Councilmembers. These citizens from the flatlands resolved to fight back.
Their anger led to a coalition of BCA's enemies who drafted an initiative charter amendment, Measure C, to establish District Elections for eight City Council seats. Only the Mayor would continue to be elected at large. The inititaive mandated run-off elections whenever no candidate received a majority. Thus, municipal elections would still be in November, but any run-offs would take place in December, with a much lower turnout.
Measure C also gerrymandered the campus community into several districts, making election of a student highly unlikely. It was a partisan payback for historic student support of BCA candidates.
Measure C amounted to a recall of the entire Council, since all seats would be contested anew in November 1986. This anti-BCA measure attracted broad conservative support.
The City Council responded with its own measures, D and E, which promised consideration of fairer alternatives to Measure C. Thus, the BCA June 1986 poster opposes C, while supporting the Council measures D and E.
BCA fully understood the danger posed by C and seriously tried to defeat it. However, district elections were not an easy target, given their progressive history, especially in San Fracisco.
Meanwhile, Berkeley hill voters, who felt un-represented by the current Council, were strongly motivated to support Measure C.
In a low turnout election on June 3, 1986 (with most students gone), Measure C won every hill precinct by huge margins, while losing virtually all the rest of Berkeley. Hill votes were enough for Measure C to barely pass with 51% of the vote.
Thus, District Elections trumped November elections, and the most significant change in Berkeley's political system during the last twenty years had been made.