Shirley Dean

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Shirley Ann Dean (Bryant), considered moderate in Berkeley politics,[1] is an American politician who served as the Mayor of Berkeley, California from 1994 to 2002. Before serving two terms as Berkeley's Mayor, Dean served on the Berkeley City Council for 15 years between 1975 and 1994[2] and was a leader of the Berkeley Democratic Club.

Shirley Dean grew up in a single parent family, and graduated from Berkeley High School in 1952. She was selected as a Distinguished Graduate in the Berkeley High School Hall of Fame,[3] and was the first in her family to attend college. She graduated with honors from UC Berkeley with a BA in Social Welfare in 1956.

During part of the time that she served as Mayor, she worked on a half-time appointment for UC Berkeley Undergraduate Admission and Relations with Schools and the Office of Admissions.[2] Her responsibilities included writing the plan and supervising field work for the recruitment of minority students to the UC Berkeley campus and visiting high schools throughout the State of California. She received two Distinguished Service Awards from UC Berkeley for her work before she retired in March, 2000.[4]

In July 2008, Dean announced that she intends to run for mayor again, in the November 2008 election.[5]



Shirley Dean was first elected Mayor of Berkeley in 1994 after a close run-off race.[2]

She was re-elected by more than 56% of the vote in 1998.[2] Some may remember that the month before her 1998 victory her opponent, Don Jelinek, accused her of having disguised her identity while visiting Wilmington College, the college that rival Councilmember and Jelinek supporter Kriss Worthington attended.[6] Dean stated that she visited the school seeking to read about Worthington in the college’s newspaper, a public record. She also stated she never asked for non-public records and that upon the request of the college showed her California Driver’s License bearing her full name and address. There is no record of her ever having said a word about the material she read in the college's newspaper.

During most of her two-term tenure as Mayor, she worked with divided City Council that had a 5-4 progressive majority. The position of mayor in the city of Berkeley is largely a symbolic post, carrying no more power than other council members.[7] Dean compensated by working relentlessly on programs she thought were best for the city.[8] For much of her career, Dean's political base was the very active network of Berkeley neighborhood organizations, however many of her critics and rivals found her to be too conservative. Dean and other members of the City Council were openly mocked at a city-sponsored art festival where a satirical, mock City Council meeting was staged in which actors took over the Council Chambers and ridiculed Berkeley's elected officials.

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