Berkeley Mayor Presents State of the City Address
(Berkeley, CA) – This evening, Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin presented his annual State of the City Address, highlighting the accomplishments of his administration while promoting a collaborative vision for the future. The speech took place at Shotgun Players, the country’s first 100% solar-powered live theater.
The hour-long speech, presented to a sold-out crowd, covered a wide array of topics impacting the City. On arts, Arreguin mentioned revitalizing the Arts and Culture Plan and providing Civic Arts Grants to the growing arts scene. He discussed major investment in homeless services, including the success of the STAIR Center, the East Bay’s first Navigation Center, which has housed 102 people since opening a year ago. The City has funded $900,000, its largest investment for anti-displacement programs. Community planning for developing housing at North Berkeley and Ashby BART is underway. The passage of Measure O, a $135 million bond in 2018, has secured funding for the Berkeley Way Project, the largest affordable housing project in the City’s history, with 142 units.
The Mayor highlighted the launch of the Vision Zero Task Force in response to a string of high-profile crashes involving cars and pedestrians, along with highlighting ongoing efforts to improve transportation safety. He also brought up collaboration with state and regional leaders in addressing fire safety and vegetation management. On the subject of climate change, the Mayor touted new laws such as the Single Use Disposable Foodware Ordinance and the ban of natural gas in new construction. He also discussed the launch of Vision 2050, a citizen-led effort to develop a framework for a 30-year sustainable infrastructure plan.
The address followed the theme of “Building our Future Together”, consistent with Berkeley’s legacy of robust community engagement and activism. From working to keep Alta Bates hospital open to the City’s status as a Sanctuary City, the Mayor emphasized how the community’s collective effort to mobilize on issues has and continues to play a crucial role in the development of trailblazing policies.