Bernie Bates has been the Mayor of Jolt City since the early eighties. As a young man, he was prone to such nervousness that he may have lost his first mayoral election to the demonic mass-murderer and Green Knight arch-foe the Psychopomp, and was only given the post after a special recall election. That particular story is very likely to be deliberately apocryphal, but his tyro nervousness can be taken to be canon.

Once Bates became firmly ensconced as Mayor, he became known for his caution and careful consideration-- especially of his public image. Allowing for that, he demonstrated the ability to take an unpopular stand when he stood against the Carlos Canton-backed ballot proposal to increase the police staffing budget. The proposal passed, damaging Bates's credibility; the proposal also crippled the budget, and for that, too, Bates was largely seen to be at fault.

His administration, and especially the Four-Colour Liason department he created for Dani Handler, came under intense criticism following the terrible spree of carnage and destruction wrought by the Little League of Doom. His popularity now at its lowest ebb, Bates finds himself fighting for his political life against mayoral candidate Carlos Canton.