Sanctuary City Update, District 4 Special Elections and Other News

April 2017 Newsletter

A Note From Jesse

During my campaign for Mayor, I made a commitment to the people of Berkeley to make homelessness a top priority. And I have. Since taking office last December, we have been working hard to expand our shelter capacity, increase warming centers and create new housing opportunities.

At last night’s meeting, the City Council unanimously voted to move forward a bold proposal that aims to end the humanitarian crisis of homelessness in our community. The Pathways Project includes both interim and long term measures that will support our homeless population, and simultaneously improve the conditions of Berkeley’s streets, parks and neighborhoods.  

Emergency interim measures include the creation of a STAIR Center (Center for Stability, Navigation and Respite), modeled after San Francisco’s successful Navigation Centers, which will provide a period of relief from living on the streets, and connect homeless individuals to permanent housing, family reunification and services.  A Bridge Living Community will also be established, similar to the STAIR Center, but designed as a communal village for extended stay.

Long-term measures center around the development of a 1000 Person Plan, which directs city staff to develop a comprehensive solution to addressing the needs of the 1,000 homeless people living in our City, and identify what resources and funding will be needed. This plan, which will build on existing services, look to best practices and include preventative measures, will be submitted to Council for approval by the end of 2017, allowing the Council to obtain funding and begin implementation in 2018.

Thank you so much to everyone in the community that contributed to the development of this plan. I hope to see many of you at my office hours this Sunday, April 9th at Espresso Roma from 11am to 1pm.


Mayor Jesse Arreguin

Latest News

Sanctuary City Status

In support of Berkeley’s Sanctuary City principles, Mayor Arreguin has convened a task force to develop policies and programs to protect our immigrant and undocumented community. Members include the Centro Legal de la Raza, East Bay Community Law Center, East Bay Sanctuary Covenant, Berkeley Organizing Congregations for Action, Arab Resource and Organizing Center, The Multicultural Institute, Berkeley Unified School District, and many other community partners. The Mayor’s office also recognizes other community efforts to protect immigrants, including the Alameda County Immigration Legal & Education Partnership (ACILEP), which provides rapid response and legal services to people threatened by Immigration & Customs Enforcement. Please call the ACILEP hotline at (510) 241-4011 if you see or suspect ICE activity. Additionally, the East Bay Sanctuary Covenant and the East Bay Community Law Center are offering “know your rights” education and nonprofit legal services. Through the dedication of these and many other organizations and individuals, our community will remain a safe space.

District 4 Special Election Results

At the March 7 Special Election, District 4 residents elected Kate Harrison as their new Councilmember. Kate has a long history of community advocacy on issues such as affordable housing, homeless services, and environmental sustainability. Mayor Arreguin looks forward to working with her.

Deep Green Building Approved

Mayor Arreguin co-sponsored the Berkeley Deep Green Building Initiative proposal. With unanimous approval at the February 28 Council meeting, our city took the next step towards investigating and developing policies and programs to improve energy efficiency. As this project progresses, we aim to reach above-code energy efficiency, conserve water, reduce toxicity in building materials, and source materials ethically.  

Public Safety

Mayor Arreguin is working to further public safety through engagement in community events and coordination with Berkeley Police Department. On February 25, Mayor Arreguin and Councilmember Bartlett held an open meeting on safety tactics at the Starry Plough Pub. We look forward to implementing the ideas discussed at this meeting and to hearing your feedback at future forums.

Keep Alta Bates Open

Mayor Arreguin convened a task force to strategize about how to keep Alta Bates Hospital open. Alta Bates is a vital resource for Berkeley and neighboring cities, and our office is committed to championing the health of our community by finding a compromise with the hospital.

Border Wall Divestment

In November, Mayor Arreguin committed to make Berkeley a beacon of political action in a time of national darkness. On March 14, Council voted to condemn the border wall and divest from any companies involved in its construction. Mayor Arreguin will do everything in his power to prevent policies of discrimination and isolationism from harming immigrant and Latino communities. As the first city to pass this legislation, Berkeley is setting an example for human rights and diversity (read the Washington Post article recognizing our leadership). Please help us continue carving a path forward during these trying times.

Tenant Protection Ordinance

Exemplifying his promise to protect and promote affordable housing, Mayor Arreguin pushed forward a Tenant Protection Ordinance to establish more robust remedies for tenant harassment. Co-sponsored by Councilmembers Worthington, Davila, and Bartlett, the ordinance adds to a Rent Board regulation that prohibits rent increases after harassment occurs. New code amendments will protect tenants in real time.

Responsible City Contracting

Recognizing the importance of responsible banking in upholding Berkeley principles, Mayor Arreguin continues to support the pursuit of alternative contracts with ethical financial institutions. The solicitation for a new comprehensive banking service provider has an estimated start date of Fiscal Year 2018. In the interim, our city is working to transition some service elements to another bank and do what we can to put our money where our mouth is.

Reception at Center for Latino Policy Research

At the U.C. Berkeley Center for Latino Policy Research (CLPR) reception, Mayor Arreguin helped celebrate the center’s expansion. CLPR is hosting a month long open house focused on arts and social justice, both of which are integral to the Berkeley community and intersect in inspiring ways.

Calling all 2nd through 12th grade students and educators!

Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta Commemorative Essay, Poetry, and Poster Contest

The Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta Commemorative Committee (CCDHCC) is now accepting submissions for the contest for 2nd through 12th grade BUSD students and teachers.  The committee will award resources to participating BUSD school sites for students to learn about the Mendez v. Westminster civil rights case and its impact on educational equality. For more information on the contest, please click here. With additional questions on how to participate, email writing or artwork to the Parent Engagement Office at 2020 Bonar St, Room 116, by April 10, 2017.

Assistance for Section 8 Recipients

DO YOU HAVE A SECTION 8 VOUCHER THAT IS ABOUT TO EXPIRE? Have you had difficulties finding a landlord who will accept your Section 8 voucher? The East Bay Community Law Center (EBCLC) wants to help! Call us at(510) 269-6624.

EBCLC is a nonprofit organization that provides free legal services to eligible East Bay clients. For all other housing questions please call our main line, (510) 548-4040.

¿TIENE UN CUPÓN DE SECCIÓN 8 QUE ESTA POR VENCER? ¿Ha tenido dificultades encontrando un dueño que acepte su cupón de Sección 8? ¡El Centro Comunitario Legal Del Este de la Bahía (EBCLC) quiere ayudarle! Llámenos al(510) 269-6624.

EBCLC es un centro legal que ofrece servicios gratuitos a clientes elegibles que viven en el área del Este de la Bahía. Para otras preguntas legales de vivienda favor de llamar nuestro numero principal, (510) 548-4040.


Know Your Rights Immigration Forum
Thursday, April 6, 6pm-9pm
Richmond Memorial Auditorium, 403 Civic Center Plaza, Richmond

The Mexican and Guatemalan Consulates, along with professional lawyers, will be providing presentations on immigration rights and resoruces. A Q&A session will follow to answer your questions.  

Berkeley Bay Festival
Saturday, April 8, 11am-4pm
Shorebird Park, Berkeley Marina

Continuing a vibrant local tradition, the Berkeley Parks, Recreation, and Waterfront Department will host the 80th annual Bay Festival by the beautiful Marina. Community organizations will provide environmental education and recreational activities ranging from a freshwater fish exhibit to dragonboat lessons. For more information, please click here.

Mayor’s Office Hours
Sunday, April 9, 11am-1pm
Espresso Roma, 2960 College Ave

Join Mayor Jesse Arreguin for his monthly office hours. This month's location will be at Espresso Roma. Councilmember Lori Droste will also be present. We look forward to hearing from you.

Meet and Greet with Sylvia Mendez
Thursday, April 13, 6pm-8pm
Longfellow Auditorium, 1500 Derby St

The Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta Commemorative Committee cordially invite the Berkeley Community to meet Sylvia Mendez, who received in 2011 the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Obama for her parents persistence and resistance to the educational segregation of Mexican children.  Join us April 13th at Longfellow Middle School for a conversation and hearing her story that is relevant in today's political climate.

5th Annual Camina y Corre por BAHIA Inc.
Saturday April 22, 9am (Registration),
10am-11am (Event)

Cesar Chavez Park and Berkeley Marina

Rejoice with family, friends, and pets in this fun-filled event! Participants will enjoy brisk runs, scenic walks, children’s activities, music. Participant registration includes food, refreshments, and a T-shirt. To  register or learn more, please click here.

African American Holistic Resource Center Meeting
Saturday, April 29, 2017, 2pm-5pm
McGee Baptist Church, 1640 Stuart St

Join the African American/Black Professionals & Community Network; Berkeley NAACP, Parents of Children of African Decent, Healthy Black Families, UCB Black Student Union, Berkeley Juneteenth Association, AAHRC Leadership Committee and the City of Berkeley in a discussion and information about the African American Holistic Resource Center (AAHRC). Open to everyone. 

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. Communications to the Mayor and all Councilmembers, If you have questions regarding public comment, council communications, or meeting order, please click here. A complete list of agendas can be found here.

The City Council is currently on spring recess. The next Council meeting will take place on April 25th. 

Jesse Arreguin