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November 8, 2016 — California General Election
Local

City of BerkeleyCandidate for Mayor

Photo of Jesse Arreguin

Jesse Arreguin

Berkeley City Councilmember
29,499 votes (50.3%)Winning
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Expanding Affordable Housing and Raising the Minimum Wage
  • Smart Solutions on Homelessness and Public Safety
  • Strengthening our Public Schools

Experience

Experience

Profession:Berkeley City Councilmember
Legislative Assistant, Berkeley City Council (2007–2008)
Member, Zoning Adjustments Board — Appointed position (2006–2008)
Chair, Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board — Elected position (2004–2008)
Commissioner, Housing Advisory Commission — Appointed position (2004–2008)
Commissioner, Planning Commission — Appointed position (2008–2008)

Biography

Berkeley City Councilmember Jesse Arreguin has spent his entire life and career fighting for the values we share and delivering results.

A Progressive Leader from the Start. 

The son and grandson of farmworkers, Jesse Arreguin was born in Fresno and raised in San Francisco. Jesse grew up in a working-class household, where his parents instilled the values of hard work, public service, and giving back to others. When Jesse was young, his family was pushed out of their home in the midst of San Francisco’s skyrocketing housing market, due to owner-move-in evictions and rent increases. Jesse knows how disruptive and harmful evictions are to working families, and how essential housing security is for the success of families and children.

Jesse was motivated by the social movements of the era: the fight against apartheid in South Africa, for democracy in China, and for farmworkers’ rights in California and across the nation. Experiencing these social movements at a very early age helped Jesse develop a lifelong commitment to fighting for social justice.

As a youth, Jesse was also inspired by the life and leadership of Cesar Chavez, who taught him that one person, despite all odds, can stand up and make a difference. Chavez became a hero for Jesse, and at the age of 9, Jesse helped lead efforts to establish Cesar Chavez Street in San Francisco.

He’s been at it ever since, and for the past twenty years Jesse Arreguin has been an effective leader on the critical progressive issues we care about.

The First in His Family to Go to College, Here at Cal.

Jesse’s dream as a kid was to attend the best public university in the world, UC Berkeley. When first visiting the campus, he fell in love with the city and knew this was where he was meant to be. Despite the odds he faced, Jesse became the first in his family to graduate college.

At UC Berkeley, Jesse led efforts to increase student housing and invest in sustainable transportation, and he fought for the interests of students in City Hall as the ASUC City Affairs Director.

After graduation, Jesse decided to make Berkeley his permanent home and dedicated his career to serving the city. He loves Berkeley for its vibrancy and visionary people, incredible cultural and intellectual life, diverse neighborhoods, and history of progressive, trailblazing leadership. 

14 Years of Service to Berkeley, Currently Representing Our Vibrant Downtown on the City Council. 

For the last 14 years, Jesse Arreguin has served the Berkeley community.

Jesse first served on the city’s Housing Advisory Commission, where he helped secure funding for hundreds of new affordable units, helped craft Berkeley’s Condominium Conversion Ordinance, strengthened inclusionary housing policies, and fought for City funding for student cooperative housing.

In 2004, Jesse was elected citywide to serve on the Rent Stabilization Board. As Chair of the Rent Board, he strengthened renter protections to help keep families in their homes.

Jesse also served on numerous other Boards and Commissions, including the Zoning Adjustments Board, Planning Commission, Joint Density Bonus Subcommittee, and on the Downtown Area Plan Advisory Committee, where he helped write our Downtown Plan. He is also a former Boardmember for the local Sierra Club, and worked as a Legislative Aide to a Berkeley City Councilmember.

In 2008, longtime Berkeley City Councilmember Dona Spring passed away. Before her death, she asked Jesse to run to succeed her in office, so Jesse did, and he won. That year Jesse became the youngest person and first Latino ever elected to the Berkeley City Council. For the past 8 years, Councilmember Arreguin has represented our vibrant Downtown and portions of North Berkeley.

Authored and Passed Over 300 Laws on the City Council that Have Made a Difference. 

On the City Council, Jesse Arreguin has been an effective consensus builder. He has helped move the City away from polarization, working constructively with his colleagues, local business, and community leaders to advance practical, forward-thinking solutions on pressing city issues.

Councilmember Arreguin has one of the most effective records on the Council, having drafted and passed over 300 pieces of progressive legislation that have made a real difference for us. Councilmember Arreguin has expanded affordable housing throughout Berkeley, helped establish our minimum wage, protected our environment, co-wrote our Downtown Plan to revitalize the heart of our city, saved our historic Main Post Office, balanced eight city budgets, and fought for tenants, immigrants, and our civil liberties.

Real Progressive Leadership for a Berkeley that Works for Everyone.

Now Jesse Arreguin is running for Mayor to make Berkeley work better for everyone and to carry on this city’s great history of progressive leadership. Jesse is the only candidate for Mayor with a truly progressive vision and a record to back it up.

As Mayor, Jesse Arreguin will tackle the affordability crisis to keep our city diverse and vibrant, take on disparities in health, housing, economic, and educational opportunity, raise the minimum wage to a living wage, make our city more environmentally sustainable, address homelessness through innovative solutions, and responsibly manage our budget.

Berkeley is a progressive city, and we need a progressive Mayor who will work hard and get real results for us. If not in Berkeley, then where?

Jesse Arreguin. Progressive. Effective. Berkeley’s Kind of Mayor.

Who supports this candidate?

Featured Endorsements

  • U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders
  • Alameda County Democratic Party
  • Sierra Club

Organizations (4)

  • Alameda Labor Council, AFL-CIO
  • East Bay Express
  • East Bay Times
  • Cal Berkeley Democrats

Elected Officials (1)

  • California State Controller Betty Yee

Questions & Answers

Questions from League of Women Voters—Berkeley, Albany, Emeryville (4)

Question 1

If you are elected, what would you like to achieve during your term in office?

No answer provided.
What do you consider the most important issue facing the city?
Answer from Jesse Arreguin:

Berkeley is at a crossroads. We are feeling the effects of the not only national wealth inequities, but also the regional housing crisis. Home prices and rents continue to skyrocket, making Berkeley one of the most expensive cities in the Bay Area.

A 2011 article by the Bay Citizen, based on 2010 census figures, found that Berkeley has one of the biggest wealth gaps in the Bay Area. As housing costs continue to increase, many long-term Berkeley homeowners, prospective homeowners, and renters are vulnerable to being priced out or forced out. Additionally, there is pressure by real estate speculators to tear down older rent-controlled housing to build newer, higher end units, which are exempt from rent control.

Rents are becoming more unaffordable for a growing segment of our population. New construction has not resulted in lower rents, but in luxury housing that does not meet the needs of existing Berkeley workers or residents, especially working families. Instead, this new housing is targeted more towards tech workers who may not be able to afford to live in San Francisco.

This housing crisis has had a direct effect on the population of our city, resulting in an exodus of working families, in particular African-American residents. Our diversity is part of what makes Berkeley such a special place to live. Unless we increase affordable housing, then we will continue to lose our economic and cultural diversity and we won’t be able to recognize the city that we live in.

Throughout his 14 years of public service in Berkeley, Councilmember Jesse Arreguin has been a leading advocate for affordable housing. As Mayor, he will continue to work tirelessly to ensure and expand sustainable, fair, and affordable housing for Berkeley.

Jesse will:

  • Increase the construction of housing along major transit corridors, such as Telegraph Ave., University Ave., and San Pablo Ave. We need to increase our housing supply.
  • Remove further obstacles to the construction of Accessory Dwelling Units under 750 square feet in Berkeley’s residential neighborhoods.
  • Create a Small Sites Program to help non-profit developers buy existing multi-unit buildings to preserve affordability.
  • Implement a Neighborhood Preference policy for inclusionary housing, in which displaced tenants receive preference for new affordable units.
  • Establish a Tenant Harassment Ordinance to provide increased protections for renters facing landlord harassment.
  • Increase funding to construct new housing affordable to low and middle income households.
  • Work with State leaders and UC officials to increase student housing construction, to address the shortage of housing for UC Berkeley students.
  • Work closely with Mayors from other East Bay cities to lobby the State to increase Affordable Housing Tax Credits and other affordable housing funding.
  • Advocate for the State to reform or repeal the Costa-Hawkins Law, which has led to a dysfunctional housing market and rent stabilization turnover.
  • Protect rent control and strengthen tenant protections to prevent displacement.
  • Ensure new housing provides a mix of options for people at different income levels, and increase inclusionary requirements to require a greater percentage of units for low-income households.
Question 3

How do you plan to balance the regional Planned Bay Area (ABAG/MTC) goals of Priority Development Areas (PDAs) with local needs of property owners, traffic/parking/congestion problems, and other local concerns?

No answer provided.
Question 4

Considering the disintegration of local infrastructure, how can the city upgrade to meet the current regulatory requirements for clean air and for clean water discharge into the Bay?

No answer provided.

Political Beliefs

Position Papers

Vision for a Better Berkeley

Summary
Jesse Arreguin’s Vision for a Berkeley that Works for Everyone

Jesse Arreguin Will Tackle the Affordability Crisis, to Keep Berkeley Vibrant and Diverse

Berkeley is at a crossroads. We are feeling the effects of the not only national wealth inequities, but also the regional housing crisis. Home prices and rents continue to skyrocket, making Berkeley one of the most expensive cities in the Bay Area.

Rents are becoming more unaffordable for a growing segment of our population. New construction has not resulted in lower rents, but in luxury housing that does not meet the needs of existing Berkeley workers or residents, especially working families. Instead, this new housing is targeted more towards tech workers who may not be able to afford to live in San Francisco.

Throughout his 14 years of public service in Berkeley, Councilmember Jesse Arreguin has been a leading advocate for affordable housing. As Mayor, he will continue to work tirelessly to ensure and expand sustainable, fair, and affordable housing for Berkeley.

Jesse will:

  • Increase the construction of housing along major transit corridors, such as Telegraph Ave., University Ave., and San Pablo Ave. We need to increase our housing supply.
  • Remove further obstacles to the construction of Accessory Dwelling Units under 750 square feet in Berkeley’s residential neighborhoods.
  • Create a Small Sites Program to help non-profit developers buy existing multi-unit buildings to preserve affordability.
  • Implement a Neighborhood Preference policy for inclusionary housing, in which displaced tenants receive preference for new affordable units.
  • Establish a Tenant Harassment Ordinance to provide increased protections for renters facing landlord harassment.
  • Increase funding to construct new housing affordable to low and middle income households.
  • Work with State leaders and UC officials to increase student housing construction, to address the shortage of housing for UC Berkeley students.
  • Work closely with Mayors from other East Bay cities to lobby the State to increase Affordable Housing Tax Credits and other affordable housing funding.
  • Advocate for the State to reform or repeal the Costa-Hawkins Law, which has led to a dysfunctional housing market and rent stabilization turnover.
  • Protect rent control and strengthen tenant protections to prevent displacement.
  • Ensure new housing provides a mix of options for people at different income levels, and increase inclusionary requirements to require a greater percentage of units for low-income households.

Jesse Arreguin Will Fight to Raise the Minimum Wage to a Living Wage

On the City Council, Jesse Arreguin helped establish Berkeley’s current minimum wage, but he won’t stop fighting until it’s raised to a living wage.

  • As Mayor, Jesse will work with the City Council, labor, and the business community to create a pathway to a living wage.
  • Jesse will also work with Mayors and City Councilmembers in other East Bay cities to create a regional minimum wage standard.

Jesse Arreguin Will Take on Homelessness Through Comprehensive and Innovative Solutions

Berkeley is facing a homelessness crisis, with over 1,000 people currently living on Berkeley’s streets. The debate around homelessness in our city is nothing new. Some in Berkeley seem to believe we need to address the homeless issue with a one- dimensional, criminalization approach. Their proposals are, in Jesse’s view, redundant, unworkable, and could in fact make the problem worse.

Political posturing and single-minded proposals won’t solve the homeless crisis. That’s why Jesse Arreguin convened a Homeless Task Force to identify solutions. As Mayor, Jesse will put a comprehensive plan into action:

  • Prioritize smart enforcement strategies: Empower our police and their crisis intervention teams with better training and the resources they need to proactively enforce laws.
  • Expand mental health services and outreach.
  • Increase the amount of warming shelters and shelter beds to get people off the streets.
  • Expand storage facilities and safe public restroom access.
  • Improve services for homeless youth.
  • Move forward with a groundbreaking project to provide affordable housing for our homeless on the City’s Berkeley Way Parking Lot.
  • Fully implement the new Homeless Coordinated Entry system, “the Hub," which centralizes homeless services.
  • Explore tiny homes as a transitional housing model for our homeless.

Jesse Arreguin Will Work Tirelessly to Improve Public Safety and Increase Disaster Preparedness

Berkeley has seen an increase in crime in the past year, including several shootings in South and West Berkeley. While property and violent crime has increased, there are not enough officers to effectively patrol our entire city. In addition, 35% of police calls are related to mental health, which diverts police resources. Our firefighters are also seeing an increase in calls, and Berkeley has now started using a 4th ambulance in its fleet, with the need for an additional ambulance growing. Berkeley also straddles the Hayward Fault, and is susceptible to urban wildfires.

As Mayor, Jesse will work closely with our Berkeley Police and Fire Departments to make our neighborhoods safer, and he will work to improve the relationship between our community and our police. He will:

  • Expand emergency mental health services so that police resources are focused on fighting crime.
  • Advocate for hiring more police officers and establish foot patrols in high crime areas.
  • Implement body cameras and dashboard cameras to ensure civilian rights and accountability for our police officers.
  • Reform Berkeley’s police review system to conform to 21st century practices of police oversight.

As Mayor, Jesse Arreguin will also ensure Berkeley takes a more proactive approach to disaster preparedness, to make sure our city is ready. He will:

  • Secure sustainable funding, including from UC, for an additional ambulance.
  • Ensure Berkeley’s various public safety departments continue to upgrade.
  • Increase coordination and communication with our regional mutual aid partners.
  • Fight to prevent the closure of Alta Bates Hospital, which would put thousands of residents at risk during a disaster.
  • Make sure Berkeley’s shelters are retrofitted for earthquake safety.
  • Promote the undergrounding of our city’s power lines.

Jesse Arreguin Will Continue Berkeley’s Long Tradition of Environmental Leadership 

Berkeley has long been a leader in environmental sustainability. As Mayor, Jesse Arreguin will keep Berkeley on the forefront of environmental innovation in California. Jesse will:

  • Advocate for the creation of housing along transit and close to where most people in Berkeley work, to reduce vehicle usage and carbon emissions. Developments in transit-rich areas should meet lower parking requirements than residential neighborhoods.
  • Push for the creation of a locally controlled energy provider, generating power from renewable resources so we can reduce our carbon footprint and create good local green jobs.
  • Expand access to urban agriculture throughout Berkeley by reducing permitting barriers.
  • Develop a Berkeley Deep Green Buildings initiative to promote zero net energy buildings, energy efficiency, and water conservation, and reduce the use of toxic materials in construction.
  • Promote solarization of City buildings, and push for mandatory solar on all large construction projects.
  • Establish a recycling collection fee to fund Berkeley’s recycling program.
  • Push to adopt strong bicycle parking requirements for new residential construction and require Transportation Demand Management (TDM) measures to reduce vehicle trips and carbon emissions.
  • Work to create robust alternatives to driving to reduce carbon emissions by:
    • Adopting a Transportation Services Fee for new development projects to mitigate their transportation/greenhouse gas impacts. This could result in millions of funding for alternative transportation.
    • Limiting the amount of parking developments in transit-rich areas.
    • Expanding bicycle infrastructure by designating more bicycle boulevards, creating protected bicycle lanes to improve bike safety, and installing more bike parking.
    • Expanding electric vehicle infrastructure.
    • Creating transit incentives for employees and residents, such as Eco-Passes.
    • Expanding bus transit and improving the reliability of public transit, including improving bus lines 6 and 51B, and restoring rapid service buses between Berkeley and Oakland.

Jesse Arreguin Will Fight to Give All Berkeley Students the Chance at a World-Class Public Education

Berkeley has some of the best public schools in the state, but there is a growing achievement gap at all levels based on race and income. We need to close the opportunity gap for all students.

As Mayor, Jesse will:

  • Champion a universal pre-school program for Berkeley families.
  • Strengthen the partnership with our School District to advance the 2020 Vision.
  • Work with BUSD to expand classroom facilities and explore creating a new school to address growing enrollment.
  • Expand summer camp programs and recreation opportunities for all youth.

Jesse Arreguin Will Responsibly Manage Our Budget, While Making Sure City Services are Equitably Distributed

The City of Berkeley is known for its high quality City services. However, Berkeley is behind other communities in embracing technology to better deliver services and connect with residents. Of course there are areas, such as the permitting process, where customer service improvements are needed. In addition, some parts of Berkeley have historically been underserved. Berkeley also faces over $1 billion in unfunded capital needs and employee retirement liabilities. As Mayor, Jesse will ensure we improve the delivery of City services and that resources are equitability distributed citywide. He will also work to ensure a sustainable future for our city Budget.

As Mayor, Jesse will:

  • Work to improve our aging infrastructure and public facilities.
  • Protect our safety net and improve essential services for the homeless, seniors, the disabled, children and youth, and other vulnerable populations.
  • Develop a long-term Fiscal Action Plan to address growing unfunded liabilities.
  • Pursue funding sources to support strong public services such as:
    • Promoting a Shop Berkeley First policy to support local business and increase City revenue.
    • Taxing temporary lodging like AirBnb through the Transient Occupancy Tax.
    • Increasing the City's outreach to secure more grant opportunities.

Jesse Arreguin Will Fight to Save Our Community Hospital, Alta Bates

As Mayor, Jesse will work with unions, community organizations, and key stakeholders to develop a coalition to fight the closure of Alta Bates Hospital.

Berkeley has a responsibility to protect the health and welfare of our residents, and ensure that emergency and urgent care services are readily available, so that people can get the care they need and reduce the risk of lives lost.

Already, the extended commute to Summit for heart attack patients puts people’s lives at risk. The closure of an emergency unit at Alta Bates and transferring of all other health care services to Summit in Oakland will put people’s lives at risk even further. We must do everything we can to keep emergency, urgent, and intensive care services in our community.

And he will push to explore using the City’s land use and public health authority and other various legal powers available to the City to protect against this dangerous hospital closure.

Jesse Arreguin Will Improve Berkeley’s Roads, Parks, and Community Facilities

Berkeley can be a world-class city. However, years of deferred maintenance has resulted in our streets, sidewalks, parks, and community facilities needing significant repair. As Mayor, Jesse will:

  • Work to increase funding to fix streets throughout Berkeley. Despite the passage of Measure M in 2012 there are still $30 million in additional resources needed to repair Berkeley’s most in-need streets.
  • Repair sidewalks throughout Berkeley and implement pedestrian safety improvements.
  • Prioritize implementation of the new Bike Plan to expand bike lanes and bicycle parking, and make streets safer for cyclists.
  • Improve our senior centers and emergency shelter sites, and push to make Cragmont School a designated shelter site.
  • Invest in our parks and explore expanding open space throughout Berkeley to meet the recreation needs of our growing population.
  • Develop a plan to fix Old City Hall and the Veterans Memorial Building and revitalize our Civic Center.
  • Expand watershed projects throughout Berkeley to reduce flooding and runoff.
  • If Measure T1 passes, Jesse will work to ensure funding is allocated to sufficiently address a variety of infrastructure needs with citizen input.

Videos (1)

— October 25, 2016 Arreguin for Mayor

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