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GPCA mourns loss of longest serving public official

Green Party mourns loss of Dona Spring, Berkeley City Council member since 1992; she’s called an ‘inspiration’ as longest serving Green in office

Greens statewide and across the nation are mourning the loss of Berkeley City Councilwoman Dona Spring – she was the longest-serving Green Party officeholder in the country. Ms. Spring died Sunday after a decades-long fight with rheumatoid arthritis. She was 55.

Ms Spring was first elected to the Berkeley City Council in 1992, and easily won re-election in 2006. A champion of the rights of the disabled, tenants, animals and the planet, Ms. Spring was known as one of the most outspoken progressives in the city, the state and the nation. Just a month ago she went to the UC Berkeley in her wheelchair to support tree-sitters.

Forced recently to attend city council meetings via teleconference because her disease had so debilitated her that even her wheelchair would not suffice, Ms. Spring was hospitalized last week with pneumonia and never recovered. Her friends said she was in horrible pain from her disease, yet she never ever complained.

“She (was) definitely a role model,” Berkeley Rent Board commissioner and Green Pam Webster said in media reports, noting that Ms. Spring helped blaze a trail for Greens in the politics.

“The Green Party of California mourns the passing and celebrates the life of one of our finest leaders, Dona Spring. She was a smart and capable politician who remained the conscience of the Berkeley City Council. Her first campaign was galvanizing. She never failed us,” said Hank Chapot, a member of the East Bay Greens.

Dona Spring’s first victory came shortly after the Green Party qualified for the ballot in 1990-92, said Chapot, adding that her election “was the harbinger of great Green electoral victories to come. Her suffering, emotionally wrenching to Dona, her friends and colleagues, coupled with her activism, represent the best in human nature. She was an inspiration,” added Chapot.

A 70-minute documentary of Ms. Spring’s life will be shown Friday (7:30 p.m. at the Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists). The Green Party of California hopes to have a special presentation about her life at
its state convention in August.

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