Mayor Jesse Arreguin is Leading Berkeley Through Challenging Times
Getting Through the COVID Crisis and Leaving No One Behind
- Under the Mayor’s leadership, we launched our Emergency Operations Center before the virus spread in Alameda County.
- The Mayor launched the Berkeley Relief Fund, raising $4.4 million to support small businesses and arts organizations and keep at-risk tenants in their homes.
- The Mayor galvanized the Council to adopt a moratorium on evictions.
- We’ve adopted some of the strongest eviction and rent gouging protections in the Bay Area to prevent residential and commercial renter displacement.
- We streamlined regulations to allow businesses to safely operate outdoors.
- Mayor Arreguin continues fighting for state and federal funds to help weather this crisis.
- The Mayor is working to keep Alta Bates Hospital open and reduce health disparities across Berkeley.
Creating Affordable Homes and Keeping Tenants Housed
- The last four years in Berkeley has seen the biggest boom in housing construction in decades.
- We’ve allocated millions to build new affordable housing and buy and preserve existing affordable housing for working families, teachers, students, seniors, and the disabled.
- Under Mayor Arreguin’s leadership, Berkeley made our largest ever investment in programs to prevent evictions and displacement, keeping hundreds of renters in their homes.
- We became the first city in the County to guarantee universal eviction defense.
- The Mayor authored and passed Measures O and P to provide $135 million to create affordable homes and expand homeless services.
- Berkeley is advancing a Local Preference Policy to give previously displaced households the right to return to deed-restricted units.
- As President of the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG), the Mayor is leading regional efforts to expand affordable housing production and ensure our region grows in equitable and sustainable ways.
Reimagining Public Safety in Pursuit of Racial Justice
- The Mayor is committed to putting Berkeley at the forefront of progressive policing, increasing accountability, and ensuring racial equity.
- In the wake of the murder of George Floyd and countless others at the hands of police, the Mayor and Council began the process of rethinking public safety to ensure the city is safe for all, particularly black and brown people.
- The City is launching a community engagement process to shift responses to mental health crises, homelessness, and other issues from police to community workers with appropriate intervention expertise.
- We’re planning a Department of Transportation that will replace police in handling traffic and parking violations.
- The Mayor negotiated with the police department to place a measure on the November ballot to strengthen our police oversight commission.
- The Mayor is currently working to expand restorative justice programs, to divert youth and non-violent offenders from the criminal justice system, and to reduce police use of force and racial disparities in policing.
Bold, Compassionate Action on Homelessness
- In his first 30 days in office, Mayor Arregin doubled the number of emergency shelter beds in Berkeley.
- We expanded emergency housing assistance and rent subsidies to keep people on the verge of homelessness from losing their homes.
- Mayor Arreguin led the creation of the STAIR Center, the East Bay’s first low-barrier 24-hour-a-day shelter, which provides job assistance, mental health and substance abuse treatments, and has moved more than 250 people from the streets to permanent housing.
- The Mayor wrote and passed Measure P, generating millions of dollars for rent subsidies, shelter expansion, street health services, and mental health outreach.
- We allocated millions for one-time housing retention grants, legal representation, and flexible housing funds to help people avoid homelessness.
Model Leadership on the Environment
- As a board member for East Bay Community Energy, Mayor Arreguin has helped our community gain access to 100 percent renewable power at affordable prices.
- Berkeley is phasing out single-use disposable foodware in restaurants and natural gas in new buildings. Both policies have become national models.
- Our Electric Mobility Roadmap presents a future where transportation is all electric and free of fossil fuels.
- Berkeley became one of the first cities in California to declare a Climate Emergency and we have set the goal of becoming a fossil fuel free city by 2030.
- Along with more than 300 other mayors across the country, Mayor Arreguin reaffirmed our city’s commitment to the goals of the Paris Climate Accord.
We made our city's largest ever investment in wildfire prevention, including funding for vegetation management, reducing fire fuels, evacuation education and preparedness. And our Safe Passages Program is making sure narrow streets are accessible for fire trucks and emergency vehicles.
- The Mayor is currently working on developing a Green New Deal for Berkeley.
Supporting Small Businesses and Creating Jobs
- The Mayor’s Small Business Package has streamlined the business permit process to make it easier to open a small business in Berkeley.
- Mayor Arreguin has helped provide tax incentives so new small businesses can come to Berkeley.
- Mayor Arreguin’s leadership has positioned Berkeley at the forefront of supporting worker cooperatives for upward mobility for workers, and he has led efforts to create a regional public banking system.
Making Government More Fiscally Responsible and Accountable
- The Mayor strengthened the City’s rainy fund, which helped us prepare for downturns like the current one.
- Mayor Arreguin took preventative action to address the unfunded pension liability crisis, and improved public access to the budget process.
- His leadership has been instrumental in helping Berkeley close an unprecedented budget deficit resulting from COVID-19, while still enabling the city to invest in streets, parks, and infrastructure, and ensure the long-term fiscal health of the city.
Standing Up to Trump
- Upon taking office in 2017, the Mayor formed a Sanctuary City Task Force to protect our immigrant and undocumented communities.
- In 2017, when white supremacists marched in our streets, the Mayor’s office launched the “Berkeley Stands United Against Hate” campaign, which soon spread throughout the entire Bay Area and beyond.
- Mayor Arreguin led the effort to divest City funds from companies involved in the construction of Trump’s racist border wall, making Berkeley the first city in America to do so.
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