Tag Archives: Jesse Arreguin

Berkeley’s new mayor, new council members are sworn in

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A large and enthusiastic crowd gathered at Berkeley’s Old City Hall Thursday morning at 10 a.m. to watch Jesse Arreguín and three new council members — Cheryl Davila (District 2), Ben Bartlett (District 3) and Sophie Hahn (District 5) — be sworn in to office.

Berkeleyside recorded some of the event using Facebook Live (unfortunately the feed cut out before Ben Bartlett and Sophie Hahn were sworn in, and the quality of the video was fairly poor due to poor internet connectivity at Old City Hall). Watch the video below.

Those in the audience for the event, which lasted about 15 minutes, included former Berkeley mayors Shirley Dean and Gus Newport, current council members Linda Maio, Lori Droste and Kriss Worthington, former councilman Max Anderson, former mayor of Oakland Elihu Harris, and Berkeley acting police chief Andrew Greenwood.

City Manager Dee Williams-Ridley presided over the event and the swearing-in was conducted by City Clerk Mark Numainville. … Continue reading »

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Kate Harrison begins campaign for District 4 Council seat

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The race to replace City Councilman Jesse Arreguín formally began Wednesday when Kate Harrison held a press conference in front of old City Hall to announce her candidacy for the District 4 seat. She was surrounded by a group of officials and activists who had helped elect Arreguín to the mayor’s office, a move that ushered in a more liberal City Council.

Arreguín, on his last day as the District 4 City Councilman, introduced Harrison, who has served on the Housing Advisory Commission, the Parks Commission, the Waterfront Commission and is a co-founder of the Berkeley Progressive Alliance.

“Kate is an experienced public policy professional,” said Arreguín. “She is overqualified to be on the Berkeley City Council having worked for (San Francisco) Mayor Art Agnos, having served as a consultant for not just cities but counties and nations. She has a wealth of public administration experience and will hit the ground running as an effective representative for District 4 and for Berkeley.”

Ben Gould, a UC Berkeley graduate student who ran for mayor in the November election, has also said he will run for the District 4 seat and plans to make a formal announcement soon. City Councilwomen Susan Wengraf and Lori Droste have endorsed Gould, who also chairs the Community Environmental Advisory Commission.

Brianna Rogers, a UC Berkeley student who also sits on the Children, Youth and Recreation Commission, had also been thinking about running, but she said Wednesday that she thinks she should focus on finishing college instead of launching a campaign.

The special election to replace Arreguín happens on March 7. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley Mayor-elect, council members reaffirm city’s sanctuary status

Arreguin press conference Nov. 22. Photo: Tracey Taylor
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Berkeley Mayor-elect Jesse Arreguín held a press conference Tuesday to make clear that he and the City Council will ensure the city remains a sanctuary city, offering protection to immigrants and undocumented residents.

“There’s a great deal of fear in our community,”Arreguín said, standing on the steps of City Hall alongside many city council members, the president of the Berkeley Unified School Board, and Mary Nicely, representing Assemblymember Tony Thurmond. The Council will propose a resolution at its next meeting, councilwoman Lori Droste said, reaffirming Berkeley’s status as a city of refuge.

Tuesday’s statements were in response to threats made by President-elect Donald Trump to penalize, through the withdrawal of federal funds, cities that refuse to turn over undocumented immigrants to officials.

A forum on immigration rights will be held tonight, Tuesday, 5:30-7:30 p.m. in Berkeley — scroll down for details.

Berkeley is one of more than 300 self-described sanctuary cities around the country. The City Council declared Berkeley to be a City of Refuge in 1971 and has had occasion to re-affirm that status several times since, including in 2007 during local raids by the Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and in 2015 when the city said it would welcome Syrian refugees.  … Continue reading »

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Mayor-elect Arreguín, Berkeley community leaders, to host unity gathering Friday morning

Human Peace sign. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
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Jesse Arreguín, who will take over as Berkeley’s mayor on Dec. 1, has called for a sunrise gathering Friday to celebrate the city’s shared community values – many of which President-elect Donald Trump does not share.

Arreguín, numerous members of the City Council, as well as community leaders, are calling for Berkeley residents to gather at 7:00 a.m. in Civic Center Park, 2100 Martin Luther King, Jr. Way, for an hour-long celebration. Participants – who are encouraged to wear their “best tie-dye” – will form a giant peace sign. Breakfast will be served.

“I will join other community leaders to address the crowd on the topics of unity, positive action, and Berkeley’s tradition of promoting human rights,” Arreguín said in an email invitation. “Let’s let all our students and community members know that in Berkeley, we rededicate ourselves to a fair, inclusive, progressive, and sustainable world.” … Continue reading »

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New mayor seeks cooperation, also higher developer fees

Jesse Arreguin will take over as Berkeley mayor on Dec. 1. Here is is at PIQ during a Berkeleyside interview on Monday. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
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Developers with projects in the pipeline can expect to be asked to provide more affordable housing and a stronger community benefits package before being approved, Mayor-elect Jesse Arreguín said Monday during a far-ranging interview with Berkeleyside.

Now that the self-described progressives have the City Council majority (see below for more details) the “previous approach” to development will change, he said.

“I do think the voters wanted a change,”Arreguín said at PIQ on Shattuck Avenue. “That’s one of the reasons I was elected by such a large margin. One of the issues I heard throughout the city of Berkeley was a concern about the major demographic changes, the changes to the character of the place, long-time businesses being displaced, the scale of development.”

“I think the voters of Berkeley want more equitable, responsible growth,” he said. “That is not to say everything is going to come to a grinding halt. We need to create more housing so, certainly, under my administration, we are going to encourage the construction of transit-oriented development in Berkeley.”

Currently, developers must make 20% of their market-rate units affordable or pay a $34,000 in-lieu fee into the Housing Trust Fund or a combination of those things. (Up from 10% and a $20,000 fee earlier this year.) Arreguín said that the nexus study Berkeley prepared on the amount developers could afford suggested that a 25% rate for affordable housing was feasible and he planned to push for that. However, he insisted he still supports the Downtown Area Plan and has no plans to push to revise it.

“We are not going to have a moratorium on development in Berkeley,” said Arreguín. “Things will still get built in Berkeley, but it’s going to be a very different dynamic. I know builders are concerned that we are going to undo the Downtown Plan, that things are going to come to a halt. That’s not the case at all.” … Continue reading »

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Berkeley’s own political earthquake: Arreguín becomes mayor, progressives seize council majority

Jesse Arreguin. Photo: Courtesy of Jesse Arreguin
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Jesse Arreguín, 32, decisively won the mayorship in yesterday’s election, becoming the first Latino Berkeley mayor.

To close observers of Berkeley’s local politics, the chattering started over the last several weeks of the election. First, Jesse Arreguín won the endorsement of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, as well as the Sierra Club and the Alameda County Democratic Party. Then there was word of thousands of new voter registrations on the UC Berkeley campus.

Missed the election night action? Read our live blog.

After 14 years of Mayor Tom Bates and his secure City Council majority, could Councilman Arreguín best Bates’ hand-picked successor, Councilman Laurie Capitelli?

It didn’t take long for the results on Tuesday night to answer that question. When the Alameda County Registrar of Voters produced the first data shortly after 8 p.m., Arreguín already led Capitelli. As long-shot mayoral candidate Ben Gould explained to Berkeleyside, those results, largely from early, mail-in ballots, usually reflect more of the “hill” vote, which Capitelli supporters had hoped to win decisively.  … Continue reading »

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Cal campus covered with graffiti for Jesse Arreguín

Chalk tagging on the UC Berkeley campus on Monday No. 7, 2016. Photo: Courtesy UC Berkeley
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People arriving on the UC Berkeley campus Monday morning can’t fail to have noticed lots of chalk tagging scrawled on many parts of the campus with messages of support for Berkeley mayoral candidate Jesse Arreguín, as well a few mentioning Rent Board candidates. The most common message was “Vote Jesse 4 Mayor,” or variations on that wording.

Christine Shaff said she counted 70 instances of different tags — all of which were made using chalk — after she got to the the campus today.

“They were on Spieker Plaza, Lower and Upper Plaza, Sather Gate, near Dwinelle Hall, Campanile Way and Moffitt Library,” Shaff, who works in the university’s real-estate division, said, noting that the north side of campus had been spared.

Shaff reported the tagging to UC Berkeley Police and began looking into how the marking could be removed.

“We will need to use water to remove it, with power washing, which is not what we want to do,” she said, although she added the campus could use well rather than potable water. Shaff said maintenance crews couldn’t power-wash busy areas during the day so they might have to do it on overtime.
“We have opened a separate work order to track how much it’s going to cost. It’s a distressing waste of our resources.” … Continue reading »

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Op-ed: Real progressives vote for housing

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Berkeley has a Downtown Plan. The path has not been smooth or simple, but thousands of hours, plus voter buy-in has solidly approved it.

It was a compromise – the outgrowth of hundreds of hours of public meetings that took place from 2005 to 2009 by a special Advisory Committee and the Planning Commission. This original plan, approved by City Council, was later overturned.

The 2010 ballot’s Measure R could only be advisory, but it gave Berkeley voters the opportunity … Continue reading »

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Op-ed: A solution to Berkeley’s political price tag problem

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Since 2008, I’ve had the privilege and responsibility of looking out for every Berkeley tenant and landlord while serving on the Berkeley Rent Board. Doing so has provided me a unique look at the skyrocketing cost of housing, the lack of affordable rental units, and the many other difficulties of Berkeley’s challenging housing market.

I’ve been elected three out of the four times I’ve run for office, and, while doing so, I’ve raised thousands and thousands of dollars. Even when … Continue reading »

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Who are Berkeley’s two leading mayoral candidates?

Mayoral candidates Laurie Capitelli and Jesse Arreguín butted heads Tuesday night over the minimum wage proposal. Photos: Mark Coplan
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It’s been a long time since Berkeley had a competitive mayoral election. There’s no polling conducted in Berkeley, but with incumbent Tom Bates stepping down, there’s considerable uncertainty about the result of the 2016 race.

Unquestionably, the two most visible candidates – most active in campaigning, raising the most money, and spending the most on the race – are council members Laurie Capitelli and Jesse Arreguín. Berkeleyside has been covering the different approaches the two take to many of the issues that dominate debate in Berkeley, from housing to homelessness to downtown. But what do we know about Arreguín’s and Capitelli’s development as local political figures?

See all local 2016 coverage on Berkeleyside.

Berkeleyside’s Frances Dinkelspiel has been attending mayoral forums, interviewing the candidates, and tracking them down during public events like the recent Sunday Streets. The result is two portraits of very different figures, vying for the symbolic leadership of Berkeley.

See more mayoral race coverage on Berkeleyside. … Continue reading »

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Laurie Capitelli wants to bring compromise, consensus to mayor’s office

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Laurie Capitelli didn’t want to see that happen. His wife, Marilyn, owned Avenue Books down the street and the couple grew increasingly worried that the loss of the movie theater would tear a hole in the fabric of the small shopping district.

So Capitelli, a public high school teacher turned real estate agent, got together with some local merchants and other engaged citizens to form the Elmwood Theater Foundation. In just a few Saturdays of fundraising, the nonprofit group raised $400,000 – enough to purchase the building and start repairs. In 1992, five years after the fire, the Elmwood reopened with a larger lobby, more screens, and new seating. Twenty-four years later, the theater is still going strong.

Capitelli, who was elected to represent District 5 on the Berkeley City Council in 2004, said that kind of consensus building – bringing disparate groups together to solve a community problem – is the way he likes to operate. And Capitelli believes that he can bring that approach to the office of mayor and Berkeley will be better for it.

See the profile on challenger Jesse Arreguín on Berkeleyside.

“That’s emblematic of the kinds of things I like to do,” Capitelli told a group that had gathered to meet him at a house party in the Elmwood in July. “I like to get in, do my research, and make things happen.” … Continue reading »

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If elected, Jesse Arreguín would be Berkeley’s first Latino mayor, just one of many firsts

Jesse Arreguin. Photo: Courtesy of Jesse Arreguin
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On a recent rainy day, City Councilman Jesse Arreguín took time from his campaign for mayor to visit a homeless encampment in South Berkeley. As water poured down on the tents and lean-tos set up in the Adeline Street median, Arreguín spoke to those camping out about their needs and wants.

The fact that Arreguín, 32, took the time to visit the encampment, which was later moved by city workers, is no surprise to his supporters. Arreguín has long been a voice for the poor and the marginalized, a reflection, he said, of his upbringing.

Arreguín is the son and grandson of farm workers. His grandfather came from Mexico in the 1940s and spent most of his life toiling in the fields of the Central Valley, Arreguín’s father, after picking crops as a child, enlisted in the Army at 18 and went on to drive a truck and work in a warehouse before starting a long career as an electrician at San Francisco State University.

The family’s poverty and struggles and tales of friends who had to live in cars made a deep impression on Arreguín, who grew up in San Francisco. From a young age he had a preternaturally strong instinct to fight against forces of prejudice, he said.

See the profile on challenger Laurie Capitelli on Berkeleyside.

“I would get so upset about injustice, whether it happened 200 years ago or now,” Arreguín said in a recent interview. … Continue reading »

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Op-ed: The race for mayor — a disconnect on development

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I’ve had many a conversation lately with white liberals in Berkeley who lament the rise of Donald Trump. They always seem to be bewildered about how this could be happening in our country, how someone like that could be so close to grabbing power. When our conversations turn to local politics, however, there seems to be a disconnect about how the dehumanizing policies that Trump is proposing for the country have much in common with ones that are in play … Continue reading »

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