A Personal Message from Mayor Jesse Arreguin

To my fellow Berkeleyans, 

In 2016, you entrusted me to be Mayor of this exceptional city. It’s an honor to lead a community that always stands for democracy, equity, and justice. 

When I took office, we couldn’t have imagined the challenges we would face. From the pandemic, to white supremacists marching in our streets, to rapidly accelerating climate change and devastating wildfires and air quality. And we couldn’t have foreseen this new opportunity we would have to finally move our city, state, and nation forward in the march toward true racial justice and equality. 

2020 is a time of urgency, and we’ve got no time to wait. While the federal government fails to address the biggest challenges of our time, cities like Berkeley are leading the way. And I am so proud to be leading this city at this consequential time. 

WE ARE TAKING BOLD ACTION ON COVID-19

To help struggling renters, businesses, and artists during this pandemic, I galvanized the City Council to push through a moratorium on evictions, because nobody should lose their housing, especially now. We launched the Berkeley Relief Fund, raising $4.4 million for emergency community support. We established our outdoor dining program to help restaurants continue to operate safely. The City is expanding testing and contact tracing and supporting our schools during this challenging time. And I am working hard to stop Sutter Health from closing Alta Bates Hospital. 

WE ARE TAKING BOLD ACTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE

While other candidates may talk a big game, my administration is actively working to bring a Green New Deal to Berkeley and make our city fossil fuel free by 2030. I helped Berkeley gain access to 100% renewable power. We’re phasing out single-use disposable foodware in restaurants and natural gas in new buildings, with both policies becoming national models adopted by other cities. And we recently made our city’s largest ever investment in wildfire prevention.

WE ARE TAKING BOLD ACTION ON CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM

In the wake of George Floyd’s tragic murder, I introduced historic police reforms to bring us closer to achieving our dream of equal justice for all, while making every Berkeleyan safer. And I’m working hard to expand restorative justice programs and reduce racial disparities in policing.

AND WE ARE TAKING BOLD ACTION ON HOUSING, HOMELESSNESS, AND STANDING UP TO TRUMP. 

Before the pandemic hit, we had seen more housing production in Berkeley than at any time in decades, with hundreds of new affordable units being approved for working families, teachers, nurses, those experiencing or on the verge of homelessness, veterans, seniors, and the disabled.

We made Berkeley’s largest ever investment in tenant protections, securing unprecedented funding for programs to prevent displacement, including emergency housing assistance, legal defense, and rapid rehousing for the homeless. These programs have kept hundreds of renters in their homes.

We built the STAIR Center, our first Navigation Center, moving more than 250 people from the streets to permanent housing, and expanded rent subsidies, shelter beds, street health services, and mental health outreach.

And of course, we proudly defended our progressive values against Donald Trump, reaffirming our Sanctuary City status, standing united against hate groups, and becoming the first U.S. city to divest from corporations involved in building Trump’s racist wall.

These are incredibly challenging times for so many of us. This year I have also been so heartened to see up close the strength, compassion, and resilience of our Berkeley community. I know that going forward we will tackle these challenges the only way Berkeley knows how—boldly, and together. 

I am so honored to be your Mayor. Feel free to contact me with any questions at jesse@jesse.vote. Please continue to stay safe out there. 

Jesse