Last Monday (Dec 15) was an important day for both Jesse "Luscious" Townley and the City of Berkeley. It was the date when, immediately before the first Rent Board meeting since the November 4th election in which Townley got elected to office, that the punk rocker-turned-politician got sworn in to his new position as City of Berkeley Rent Board Commissioner. One of five elected to this position, Townley stands out because of his rich and colorful background and unprecedented deep rooted commitment to Berkeley and its citizens.
Townley, who migrated to Berkeley from Philadelphia back in 1989, initially came out West to attend the San Francisco Anarchist Gatheriing -- but he liked it so much in Berkeley that he never left. From 1989 to 1990 he published the punk zine Berkeley Sucks. Over the years he has volunteered countless hours at 924 Gilman Street. He has also played on the stage at Gilman as a member of such East Bay punk bands as Blatz, The Gr'ups, The Criminals, and most recently The Frisk (who appeared on the Amoeba Music Compilation series). Over the years Jesse has also gained invaluable experience putting in time at local punk labels. He has worked at both Lookout Records and Alternative Tentacles (where he still works) and for a time, along with his partner Kamala, ran his own label Zafio Records.