Over in the People's Republic of Berkeley, a well-regarded, Chomsky-endorsed beat poet with 13 books and one degree in engineering to his name has thrown his metaphorical hat in to the race to become Berkeley's chief executive. Mark Schwartz, author of On Third Street Kerouac Revisited, joins noted treesitter Zachary RunningWolf, incumbent Mayor Tom Bates and three more normal-seeming candidates on the earthy city's ballot in November.

Schwartz, who tells Berkeleyside that he has been diagnosed and hospitalized with mental illness says his disability won't be a problem, if he wins the role of Berkeley's mayor. When asked to elaborate about his condition, Schwartz played it off with a laugh saying, "Iā€™m classified as a Schizophrenic affective ā€” that's because I'm effective with people." (Puns!)

As for Schwartz's platform: the poet has never held a public office, but he did serve a nine-year stint as president of the tenant board at a South Park low-income housing complex, and helped found two other low-income residences while serving on San Francisco's Coalition on Homelessness. Naturally, his main campaign issues are focusing on putting roofs over the heads of Berkeley's 832 homeless people.

As one might expect, Schwartz is also not a fan of current Mayor Tom Bates' proposal to launch a Sit-Lie ordinance in Berkeley. When asked how he might be able to compete with Bates' fundraising efforts, Schwartz explained he's an issues candidate and won't even bother opening a campaign office. If you need to get in touch with him, however, he can be found hanging out at Telegraph Avenue's Caffe Med in the mornings.

[Mark Schwartz Bio]