Opinion: The majority of Berkeley City Council members agree: Re-elect Mayor Jesse Arreguín

He has been a leader in bringing clean energy options to residents, reducing the city’s carbon footprint, and creating programs to help and house the homeless.

As Berkeley City Councilmembers representing diverse neighborhoods, we don’t always agree on everything. But there is one thing we all agree on: Mayor Jesse Arreguín is a skilled and dedicated leader, an excellent colleague, and an outstanding mayor for Berkeley. Not only is he the best candidate for Berkeley mayor in 2020, he is the only candidate qualified to lead our city – and our City Council – during these next four years.

We urge you to join us in supporting Mayor Arreguín’s re-election.

Mayor Arreguín is a dedicated and hardworking leader, meeting crises with effective action and making significant progress on important long-term goals.

During the past four years, under the mayor’s leadership, Berkeley has successfully responded to a series of emergencies, including the extraordinary public health and economic crises caused by COVID-19. His leadership is instrumental in keeping our community safe. We’ve flattened the curve of this pandemic and avoided the tragic outbreaks and high death rates seen in other communities.


To ensure no one is left behind, Mayor Arreguín launched the Berkeley Relief Fund the same day shelter-in-place was declared, raising $4.4 million to support local businesses, arts organizations and at-risk tenants. He co-authored important legislation to open our streets for outdoor dining and retail and expand access to low-interest loans, and has helped craft policies to safely reopen businesses and activities.

In the wake of George Floyd’s murder and renewed calls for equity and justice, Mayor Arreguín committed to putting Berkeley at the forefront of reimagining public safety. He quickly launched a process to study best practices and consult with the community to achieve health, safety and wellbeing for all residents, eliminate racial disparities, and expand mental health and homeless crisis response capabilities – so our police can focus on preventing and solving real crime.

Under the mayor’s leadership, we’re also making real progress addressing the city’s biggest long-term challenges. We’re breaking ground on affordable housing projects and have rehoused hundreds of homeless neighbors. We’ve increased emergency financial assistance to help residents who are at risk of becoming homeless. None of this would have been possible without Mayor Arreguín.

Mayor Arreguín is also a true environmental champion and is the only candidate for mayor endorsed by the Sierra Club and the League of Conservation Voters. He understands that addressing the climate crisis requires bold action – because he’s taken it. He helped set a goal for Berkeley to be fossil fuel-free by 2030, and for more than a decade has been doing the real work of implementing a comprehensive and impactful Green New Deal for Berkeley.

Berkeley’s Climate Action Plan and Resilience Strategy articulate our goals: energy-efficient buildings, universal access to clean energy, support for alternative modes of transit and electric vehicles, accelerating the implementation of our bicycle and pedestrian plans, zero waste, locally sourced food, a prepared, connected and resilient community, racial equity, and climate justice. On every one of these goals, Mayor Arreguín has been at the forefront, writing policies and launching programs that have made a significant impact. And with his persistent work over many years, some of these goals have already been met.

Just one example is the launch of East Bay Community Energy (EBCE), an agency he advocated for over many years, on whose board he now serves, and where he is largely responsible for ensuring the promise of clean, nuclear-free energy. The launch of EBCE is one of the most important measures ever taken to reduce our GHG emissions in Berkeley, offering every home and business 100% clean and renewable energy. Talking about a Green New Deal is the easy part. Implementing it takes the dedication, knowledge, skill and persistence our mayor has already shown.

Mayor Arreguín’s record of service is extensive, but it’s not just his problem solving and legislative work that leads us to believe he is the best candidate for mayor. As his colleagues, we appreciate how hard he works to represent all of Berkeley and build cordial and productive relationships on the City Council – and across the region. Mayor Arreguín is committed to achieving consensus solutions that work for all of Berkeley and finds a way to unanimous votes on the vast majority of items that come before us.

Mayor Arreguín’s collaborative style and effective solutions have also earned him the support of regional and state leaders. In addition to his work in Berkeley, Mayor Arreguín serves as president of the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG), encompassing nine counties and 101 municipalities – from Cloverdale to Gilroy, San Francisco to Dixon, and everything in between. He was elected ABAG President by a unanimous vote – an impressive testament to the respect he has earned from more than 100 mayors, council members and county supervisors across the region.

Mayor Arreguín’s leadership at ABAG means Berkeley is at the forefront of regional collaboration to address housing, homelessness, economic inequality, and climate change.  He also has strong personal relationships with – and is endorsed by – Governor Gavin Newsom, former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich, State Controller Betty Yee, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond, Assemblymember Buffy Wicks, and Supervisor Keith Carson.

These important relationships take years to build, accrue to the great benefit of Berkeley, and can’t be replaced.

Good ideas are easy. It takes real leadership and experience to get things done. Mayor Arreguín has been an outstanding leader for Berkeley for 16 years. We appreciate the steady hand with which he has led our city in difficult times and the bold, compassionate policies he puts forward. Please join us in voting to reelect a dedicated, proven, and effective mayor for all of Berkeley: Jesse Arreguín.

The authors are Berkeley City Councilmembers representing neighborhoods across the city of Berkeley.