New Police Chief Sworn In, 2nd Street Shelter to Stay Open and More

May 2017 Newsletter

Dear Neighbor:

Over the past few months, Berkeley has been at the center of extremist attention, with some attempting to portray our city as intolerant to free speech. Nothing could be further from the truth. Our City has gone above and beyond in protecting freedom of speech while ensuring the safety of bystanders. The Berkeley Police Department has made dozens of arrests and confiscated countless weapons during the past four events. Such arrests were done surgically as to reduce the likelihood of increased violence. BPD is constantly learning from previous events and have succeeded in the extremely difficult task of protecting both safety and free speech. During the latest event on April 27th, there were no reports of violence.

I strongly disagree with the hateful rhetoric that scapegoats Muslims, immigrants, and other minority groups as the root of many of the issues our country faces. But in an open society, everyone has the right to speak, and to peacefully protest. What people do not have the right to is to incite violence or to turn our community into a Fight Club. If you want to protest against someone or something, you should follow the principles shared by Martin Luther King Jr or Mahatma Gandhi.

Free speech and public safety are not mutually exclusive, and it is my job as Mayor to protect both. I want to thank Berkeley Police Chief Andrew Greenwood, UC Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks, and other agencies and officials involved in keeping the peace - something the people who live here deserve, and something they rightfully expect. As I wrote in a recent op-ed to the San Francisco Chronicle, my administration will work tirelessly to protect free speech and protect public safety. Anyone who says you have to choose one is accepting a false premise.  

Berkeley is not a battlefield, and we must make sure residents are not inconvenienced by provocative activities. I will be holding a community forum on these recent protests and will be following up with you when a date is set.

Contact the Mayor's Office

Hours: Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Phone: (510) 981-7100
Fax: (510) 981-7199

Mail: Mayor Jesse Arreguin
City of Berkeley
2180 Milvia Street, 5th Floor
Berkeley, CA 94704

Brandi Campbell, Chief of Staff,
Jacquelyn McCormick, Senior Advisor,
Stefan Elgstrand, Assistant to the Mayor,

Latest News

2nd Street Shelter will stay open

Thanks to a gracious donation from an anonymous donor, the city-operated 2nd Street Shelter will remain open for another month, aiding 47 homeless Berkeleyans per night with beds, food, and a sense of community. Opened by Mayor Arreguin during his first month in office, the shelter provides innovative emergency housing with storage space, bike racks, and a dog kennel, and helps to keep people safe and healthy as our office works to streamline the creation of long term housing solutions. Read more about the shelter’s success on Berkeleyside.

Andrew Greenwood sworn in as new Berkeley Police Chief

Mayor Arreguin congratulates Chief Greenwood, who was sworn in on April 20. Greenwood was born and raised in Berkeley, and holds deep roots in our community and shares Berkeley values. Public safety is a priority for our office, and we look forward to continued collaboration with Chief Greenwood and Berkeley Police Department to make sure all community members feel safe in Berkeley.

Pathways Project moves forward

Since the beginning of his term, Mayor Arreguin has worked with Council to implement a system of reforms to end homelessness in Berkeley. Our office’s efforts progressed at the April 4 Council meeting with the unanimous approval of the Pathways Project. Emergency Interim Measures to be implemented include a STAIR Center for extended shelter and supportive housing measures, whose development has begun through the Ad-Hoc Homelessness Sub-Committee on Homelessness. Another major component of the Pathways Project is the creation of a 1,000 Person Plan to encompass the needs of the estimated 1,000 homeless residents of Berkeley. The plan, which will have a 10 year operating period, will come before Council by the end of 2017.

Chancellor’s Community Partnership Fund grants to be announced

Mayor Arreguin looks forward to the upcoming announcement of Chancellor’s Community Partnership Fund grant recipients. The Fund supports efforts by Berkeley-based organizations to benefit Berkeley residents through collaboration between the university and the community. Every program addresses one of five main topic areas of community safety, environmental stewardship, education, economic development, and arts and culture. In the future, our office hopes to be celebrating their achievements.


Urban Farming Workshop Series
May 18, June 8, and June 22
Various Locations

Learn the basics of urban agriculture with University of California experts and community partners at this low cost series workshops. For $20 a day, you can receive instruction (lunch and refreshments included) on production concepts, zoning, food safety, and business management. With any questions, email Reyna Yagi at To register, click here.

East Bay Housing Organizations Kick-Off Celebration
Thursday, May 11, 6-8:30pm
Classic Cars West, 411 26th St, Oakland

East Bay Housing Organizations (EBHO) will begin its 21st Annual Affordable Housing Week with this celebration of the work of various community partners to protect affordability in the Bay Area. For $45 for members or $75 for members, guests can participate in a night of food, music, and recognition of valuable community work. For more information, click here.

Berkeley Public Schools Fund Spring Luncheon
Friday, May 12, 11am-1:30pm
HS Lordships, 199 Seawall Dr, Berkeley Marina

The Berkeley Public Schools Fund is Berkeley’s largest outside funding source for local public schools and supplements public resources with classroom grants, teacher fellowships, and other essential programs. This year’s Spring Luncheon, called “Be A Scientist,” will honor two middle school STEM initiatives and the individuals spearheading them: Longfellow Middle School science teacher Matt Hinckley and UC Berkeley Associate Professor of Plant and Microbial Biology Mary Wildermuth. Help support Berkeley schools by attending this inspiring event. For more information, click here.

Items of Interest

Reading List
Check out this blog post from CoLab Radio, an MIT city and regional planning publication that features stories on constructive community projects and perspectives. In “Cooperative California Cities and the ‘New Economy,’” Urban Studies and Planning PhD candidate Jason Spicer discusses successful economic democracy efforts and calls out various Bay Area businesses, including Berkeley’s very own Cheeseboard collective.

Home Rehabilitation Help

The City of Berkeley's Senior-Disabled Home Rehabilitation Loan Program is a great resource for  low-income Berkeley homeowners aged 62 or older and/or residents with permanent disabilities. The program enables participants to obtain a zero interest, 30-year-deferred loan up to $100,000 to perform necessary health and safety repairs to their home. For more information, click here.

High School Art Competition

Congresswoman Barbara Lee has announced this year’s Congressional Art Competition: An Artistic Discovery 2017, where talented young high school artists from across the East Bay are invited share their personal narratives through art. The winning piece in the district competition, as explained on Lee’s facebook page, will be displayed in the U.S. Capitol for one year. Mayor Arreguin will also be posting the artwork submissions on hiswebsite, where East Bay residents can vote for a “Fan Favorite.” For more information, see Lee’s website or contact her Oakland office at (510) 763-0370. All artwork must be submitted to Lee’s Oakland office by Wednesday, May 3rd at 5pm.  

All About Bikes

Continuing Berkeley’s leadership on issues of environmental sustainability, Mayor Arreguin is pleased to report that Berkeley Bike Share locations are soon to be up and running - or rather, cycling. You can help power our city’s effort towards clean and accessible transportation infrastructure by applying for a position with public bicycle share operator Motivate. Click here for more details on hiring. If you’re already employed, you can support bike transportation by participating in Bike to Work Day on May 11. There will be energizer stations throughout the city to award your effort, and a number of other activities hosted by Bike East Bay. With the bike enthusiasm you have remaining, come out to the May 2 Council Meeting, where the updated City of Berkeley Bicycle Plan will be discussed. This aims to promote the enjoyable and convenient use of bicycles in parallel with our city’s safety, health, and environmental objectives. To view the latest draft, click here.

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 If you have questions regarding public comment, council communications, or meeting order, please click here.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017, 7pm

Council Chambers, 2134 MLK Jr Way

For updates on future City Council agendas, click here.

Jesse Arreguin