Divesting From Wells Fargo, Counting the Homeless and Small Sites Program

February 2017 Newsletter

A Note from Jesse

I can’t believe it’s only been two months. In just a few weeks the Trump administration has issued executive orders to build a border wall, cut funding from Sanctuary Cities, ban the re-entry of citizens from Middle Eastern countries, moved to aggressively enforce immigration laws and fast tracking the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines.

All these actions propagate Islamophobia, racism, xenophobia, and. These policies are directly threatening for many Berkeleyans, and for all of us, they are affronts to the values of our community.

I want you to know that while this presidency casts a dark cloud over our country, it will not change the progressive culture and politics of Berkeley. On the contrary, this national context calls on us to champion the values and policies that define our diverse and inclusive city. Berkeley must be a progressive beacon in the darkness. One of the policies that I hold very dear is Berkeley’s status as a sanctuary city.

On January 25, President Trump signed an executive order to pull federal funding from sanctuary cities. On the same day, I sent a joint message with the cities of San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose in which we reiterated our commitment to protecting the human rights of undocumented immigrants. In this press release, I said, “We will not be intimidated by threats to cut funding to cities that believe in the fundamental notion that no person is illegal.”  I want you to know that no amount of federal dollars will persuade your elected to officials to endanger members of our community. My office is working with UC, BUSD and community partners in enhancing resources for our undocumented community and to defend our immigrant population when ICE comes into our city.

Another aspect of holding safe community spaces is protecting free speech. Berkeley is the home of the Free Speech Movement; our university campus and city streets were the site of groundbreaking activism for civil rights and political engagement. Nevertheless, our city recently experienced divisive riots over a misunderstanding of this core principle of freedom of expression. Rhetoric aimed to marginalize certain communities and undermine equity and diversity is not justified by the First Amendment. Violent protest does not reflect our values either, and the City Manager and Berkeley Police Department are investigating the small number of protesters who engaged in destructive behavior.

In response to the recent decision to approve the Keystone and Dakota Access pipelines, Berkeley is exploring cutting ties with Wells Fargo and doing business with a local community bank. We must ensure that our taxpayer dollars are invested in a socially responsible manner.

I am also proud to co-sponsor a resolution with Councilmember Cheryl Davila to oppose city participation in any Muslim registry.

Berkeley will continue to lead the resistance against the Trump agenda, and push forward thinking progressive policies to address the challenges facing our city and region: homelessness, housing, climate change, education, economic development.

In solidarity,

Mayor Jesse Arreguin


  • From February 6 through March 7, District 4 residents have the opportunity to cast their ballots in the mail-only special City Council election. If you live in District 4, please remember to vote for your next representative.

  • Berkeley’s contract with Wells Fargo will end in 2017. Recently, Wells Fargo has been associated with unethical practices including the unrequested opening of accounts in order to charge additional fees and a major investment in the Dakota Access Pipeline. At our meeting on January 24, Council requested that the City Manager open a request for alternate contract proposals in order to identify socially responsible alternative banks that will conscientiously carry out our city’s next 10-year contract.

  • The Residential Preferential Parking Program was extended to sections of Harper Street, Allston Street, Grant Street, and Claremont Avenue. As in 14 other city areas, residents of these neighborhoods will receive prioritized street parking with the use of annual permits.

  • On January 31, 2017, the organization EveryOneHome gathered 500 volunteers to participate in the Alameda County 2017 Point-In-Time homeless count. In past years, Berkeley’s homeless population has been estimated at 800 to 1200 people, all of whom deserve city services and support. The more data we have, the better equipped our city is to accurately assess and efficiently address this pressing problem of public health and safety.

  • At the February 14 Council meeting, Council approved moving forward with the Small Sites Program. This will help protect affordable housing by making it easier for non-profits to acquire existing properties. Additionally, the item calls for the creation of an ordinance that will offer tenants the first right of refusal when a property owner places a property on the market. Such an ordinance was met with great success in Washington D.C.  


Mayor's Office Hours
Saturday, March 4, 10am-1pm
Sconehenge, 2787 Shattuck Ave
Join Mayor Jesse Arreguin for his monthly office hours. This month's location will be at the Sconehenge. We look forward to hearing from you. 

Mobile Clinic
1st and 3rd Thursday of the Month, 9:30am-4pm
Hearst/4th (near train tracks) 
The Alameda Health Care for the Homeless provides a bi-monthly mobile health clinic in Berkeley. This provides urgent care, brief social work assessments, and referrals to community resources. Services are provided free of charge to people experiencing homelessness on a first-come-first-served basis.  

International Women’s Day / Day Without a Woman
Wednesday, March 8

Please help honor and celebrate International Women’s Day. Whether by educating friends, family, or coworkers, engaging in peaceful demonstration, or getting educated yourself, our office encourages you to participate in this day of worldwide support for gender equality.


Community Forum on the Homeless Crisis
Thursday, March 9, 5-8pm
Northbrae Community Church, 941 The Alameda

The Office of District 5 Councilwoman Sophie Hahn is partnering with Berkeley Organizing Congregations for Action (BOCA), the Berkeley Food Network, and the North Berkeley Public Library to facilitate a community event on the Berkeley Homeless Crisis. From 5-6pm, there will be an information fair featuring nonprofit agencies that serve the homeless. From 6-7, Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin and Director of Health, Housing, and Community Services Paul Buddenhagen will present information about the City of Berkeley's response to the crisis, and from 7-8, there will be a question and answer period. With questions or tabling requests, please contact brnorris@cityofberkeley.info.

Town Hall on the Affordable Care Act
Sunday, March 12, 1pm-3pm
Ed Roberts Campus, 3075 Adeline St
Join Mayor Jesse Arreguin and Congresswoman Barbara Lee in a Town Hall to discuss the proposed repeal of the Affordable Care Act. The meeting will bring up the consequences of such a repeal, and what you can do to stop it. For more information, visit Fight4OurHealth.org
Berkeley Emergency Prep Fair
Saturday, March 18, 10am-2pm
LeConte Elementary School, 2241 Russel St
Kids growing up in earthquake country need a disaster-prepared household. Pet owners need to know how to keep pets safe in a disaster. At this FREE community-wide event, we invite people at all levels of preparedness to take steps towards emergency readiness for their whole family. You'll find family-friendly activities, tips and information, on-site training and interactive demonstrations of safety resources available to you in our community. There will be a showcase of emergency vehicles, prizes, kids activities and more.

Upcoming Council Meetings

The City of Berkeley places great value on public participation at City Council meetings. Your voice matters to our office and it is important to us that Berkeleyans are informed on current Council items. With communications to the Mayor and all city councilmembers, email council@cityofberkeley.info. If you have questions regarding public comment, council communications, or meeting order, please click here.

February 28, 2017, 7pm
Old City Hall, 2134 MLK Jr Way

March 7, 2017, 7pm
Old City Hall, 2134 MLK Jr Way

  • ZAB Appeal: 2902 Adeline

March 14, 2017, 7pm
Old City Hall, 2134 MLK Jr Way

  • 2017 Bicycle Plan
  • Non-Voting Student Representative on Council
  • Banning Sale of Fur
  • Tenant Protection Ordinance
Jesse Arreguin