The City Council did not accept narrow passage of District Elections in a low turnout June 1986 election as the final word. District Elections were just too terrible to tolerate. The Council promptly placed Measure I on the November 4, 1986 ballot to repeal District Elections in their entirety.
This BCA poster makes the Council's case: "Reunite Berkeley, Repeal Unfair Districts & Runoffs". It was hoped that a higher turnout November election would undo the 51% victory of District Elections in June.
However, BCA had to also nominate and run candidates in the district elections taking place in November 1986. This made for an extremely awkward situation. Berkeley voters were being asked to repeal a District Election system at the same time that election method was being tried out for the first time.
The result was a stronger mandate for District Eections. The Measure I repeal of districts received only 40% of the vote, losing in a landslide.
The other measure on this poster, Q, intended to save the waterfront from development, did pass, receiving more votes than its rival. This was an environmentalist victory.
Nevertheless, no matter how much BCA and the progressive community hated them, district elections were here to stay. They are still with us into the new millenium.
Both sides in Berkeley's electoral wars have learned to live with District Elections. And both sides are now virtually assured that they will each have several City Council seats, without wild swings in either direction.
With most Councilmembers entrenched in their safe districts, few competitive races developed unless the incumbent retired. A charter amendment increasing Council terms back to 4 years, instead of the 2 years in the original District Elections initiative, made Councilmembers even more secure.
Only the city-wide race for Mayor every four years would really bring out the old competitive juices, as the two parties battled for what could be the decisive fifth seat and a ruling Council majority.