Jesse Arreguin

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Jesse Arreguin
Jesse Arreguin at FearlessCities. International Municipalist Summit, Barcelona 9-11 June.jpg
22nd Mayor of Berkeley
Assumed office
December 1, 2016
Preceded by Tom Bates
Berkeley City Council member
In office
December 2008 – December 1, 2016
Preceded by Dona Spring
Succeeded by Kate Harrison
Personal details
Born Fresno, California, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Alma mater University of California Berkeley

Jesse Arreguin is an American politician who is the current mayor of Berkeley, California.[1].

He studied Political Science at the University of California Berkeley, and went on to serve on the Berkeley Housing Commission and Rent Stabilization Board before his election to Berkeley City Council in December 2008.[2][3] He represented District 4 on the council until his election on November 8, 2016 as the first Latino and youngest person to serve as the city’s mayor.[4]

Arreguin has described himself as an "unapologetic progressive,"[4] and has said he wants to “restore Berkeley to the forefront of progressive leadership on the environment and social justice.”[5]

Arreguin represents the cities of Alameda County on the Executive Board of the Association of Bay Area Governments.[6] He also represents Berkeley on the Board for the East Bay Community Energy Authority, and the Alameda County Waste Management Authority, and chairs the Council's Agenda Committee, 2x2 Joint City/School Board Committee, 3x3 Joint Housing Authority/Council Committee; and 4x4 Joint Committee on Housing.[7][8][9]

Early life[edit]

Arreguin was born in Fresno, California and grew up in San Francisco, California, his parents and grandparents were farmworkers.[10] At age 9, Arreguin became involved in the ultimately successful campaign to change the name of Army Street to Cesar Chavez Street in the historically Latino Mission District of San Francisco.[11][12] Arreguin continued to be involved through efforts against reverse the name change in 1995, described as having “campaigned tirelessly to keep one of the Mission’s main thoroughfares named after his idol, Cesar Chavez...”[13]

Arreguin was the first in his family to attend college, and graduated from the University of California Berkeley with a degree in Political Science in 2007.[10] While attending UC Berkeley, Arreguin served as the City Affairs Director for the Associated Students of the University of California and was elected to the Berkeley Rent Stabilization board in 2004, serving as chair through 2008.[3][2][3]

Arreguin has also served on the Housing Advisory Commission, Zoning Adjustments Board, and Downtown Area Plan Advisory Committee.[14]

Berkeley City Councilmember[edit]

From 2008 to 2016, Arreguin served two terms as a Berkeley City Council member representing City Council District 4,[15] on the council, Arreguin drafted and passed over 300 pieces of legislation.[10]

He helped increase the city’s minimum wage to $15, co-wrote the Downtown Area Plan, pass the Affordable Housing Mitigation Fee, used to build affordable housing, create police reform after Black Lives Matter demonstrations, and worked to save the historic Main Post Office.[16][16][17][18][19]

Mayor of Berkeley[edit]

Arreguin announced his candidacy for Mayor of Berkeley in October 2015,[20] he faced seven candidates for the open Mayor’s seat, and was endorsed by U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, the Sierra Club, and the Alameda Democratic Party.[21][22][23]

Arreguin won 51% of the vote after ranked-choice tabulation.[23] Prior to his swearing-in, Arreguin vowed as Mayor-elect alongside City Council members that “Berkeley would remain a sanctuary city and continue to shield its undocumented residents from deportation.” [24][25] Arreguin was sworn in as Mayor on December 1, 2016 and in his inaugural address said that “in light of the national election, Berkeley, now more than ever, needs to lead.” [26]

In January 2017, following the release of Donald Trump’s executive orders calling for the construction of a border wall, and enforcement of immigration law including the withholding of federal funds from sanctuary cities, Arreguin released a statement along with other progressive mayors in the region opposing the “hateful and harmful policies.” [27]

When a talk by controversial “alt-right” commentator Milo Yiannopoulos was announced on the University of California, Berkeley campus in February 2017, Arreguin commented that “Bigotry is unacceptable. Hate speech isn’t welcome in our community.”[28] After violent protests caused UC Berkeley to cancel the talk,[29] Arreguin stated that “we as a city do not make a decision about inviting a speaker. We do not make a decision to cancel a speaker, this was a decision of the university." [30]

In response to the same incident, Arreguin referred to Yiannopoulos as a “white nationalist,”[31] but later retracted his characterization of Yiannopoulos, and instead described him as an “alt-rightist.” [28] Arreguin began receiving death threats by Yiannopoulos supporters from across the country after his statements were covered by far-right news website Breitbart News, Yiannopoulos’s employer at the time.[31][28]

With Arreguin’s backing, the Berkeley City Council voted in March 2017 to divest from companies involved in constructing the proposed border wall with Mexico, becoming one of the first cities in the country to do so,[32][33] the City Council also passed a resolution calling for the impeachment of Donald Trump, co-sponsored by Arreguin, who stated that “[e]very day there’s a new ethical problem that warrants impeachment.”[34]

Arreguin again became a target of death threats when conservative commentator Ann Coulter planned to speak on the UC Berkeley campus and canceled her appearance over legitimate safety concerns in April 2017,[35][36] during protests over Coulter’s appearance, Arreguin was denounced for supporting the far-left group BAMN (By Any Means Necessary), which has incited violent protests, after it became known that he had “liked” their Facebook page.[37] In response, Arreguin said that “following or liking pages does not mean you support what that group is doing,” adding, “I am not a member of BAMN, and I do not support the views and the violent actions of that group.” He later un-followed the group.[38]

In May 2017, Arreguin co-sponsored the successful resolution to divest the City of Berkeley from Wells Fargo Bank in response to allegations that the bank opened fraudulent deposit accounts, the bank’s financing of private prisons and the Dakota Access Pipeline.[39]

After President Trump’s withdrawal of the United States from the Paris Agreement in June 2017, Arreguin pledged along with 350 other mayors “to uphold the Paris Agreement goals even though President Donald Trump pulled the U.S. out of the international agreement to combat climate change.” [40]

Following the Charlottesville Unite the Right rally, attention was brought to a planned far right rally planned for August 27 in Berkeley.[41] Ahead of the event, Arreguin stated that his office was “currently exploring all options, including whether we have the legal means to stop this rally from taking place.” [42] At a press conference with local leaders including Rep. Barbara Lee and State Sen. Nancy Skinner, Arreguin called for opponents of the rally to hold counter-demonstrations in different locations to avoid violence between groups.[43]


  1. ^ City of Berkeley Mayor’s Office
  2. ^ a b Dinkelspiel, Frances (9 November 2016). "Berkeley Rent Board seeks applicants for vacant seat". The Daily Californian. Retrieved 31 July 2017. 
  3. ^ a b c Yoon-Hendricks, Alexandra (9 November 2016). "Jesse Arreguin wins as Berkeley’s 1st Latino mayor". The Daily Californian. Retrieved 31 July 2017. 
  4. ^ a b Lin, Da (11 November 2016). "Berkeley’s First Latino Mayor-Elect Is Also Its Youngest Ever". CBS SFBayArea. Retrieved 1 August 2017. 
  5. ^ "Election 2016: Who is Jesse Arreguín?". Berkeleyside. October 13, 2016. Retrieved August 1, 2016. 
  6. ^ ABAG Executive Board Roster
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  10. ^ a b c [4]
  11. ^ "Election 2016: Who is Jesse Arreguín?". Berkeleyside. October 13, 2016. Retrieved August 1, 2016. 
  12. ^ Alamán, Gabriela (April 19, 2017). "Berkeley’s first Latino mayor selected for SF Chavez day grand marshal". El Tecolote. Retrieved 1 August 2017. 
  13. ^ Dalle-Molle, Kathy (September 1995). "Cracks Widen on Chavez-Army Street". The Noe Valley Voice. Retrieved 1 August 2017. 
  14. ^ "Election 2016: Who is Jesse Arreguín?". Berkeleyside. October 13, 2016. Retrieved August 1, 2016. 
  15. ^ Dinkelspiel, Frances (3 November 2016). "If elected, Jesse Arreguín would be Berkeley’s first Latino mayor, just one of many firsts". Berkeleyside. Retrieved 3 November 2016. 
  16. ^ a b Larson, Pamela (22 October 2015). "City Councilmember Jesse Arreguin releases official announcement for mayoral run in Berkeley". The Daily Californian. Retrieved 20 Aug 2017. 
  17. ^ Dinkelspiel, Frances (21 March 2012). "After 7 years, Berkeley gets a new downtown plan". Berkeleyside. 
  18. ^ Raguso, Emilie (11 February 2015). "Berkeley City Council limits police tear gas use, for now". Berkeleyside. Retrieved 20 Aug 2017. 
  19. ^ [5]
  20. ^ Dinkelspiel, Frances (22 October 2015). "Jesse Arreguín formally announces run for mayor". Berkeleyside. Retrieved 20 Aug 2017. 
  21. ^ Raguso, Emilie (13 October 2015). "Election 2016 Berkeley: Spotlight on the mayor’s race". Berkeleyside. Retrieved 20 Aug 2017. 
  22. ^ Panzar, Javier (8 September 2016). "Jumping into local politics, Bernie Sanders endorses Berkeley city councilman in mayor's race". Berkeleyside. Retrieved 20 Aug 2017. 
  23. ^ a b Knobel, Lance (9 November 2016). "Berkeley’s own political earthquake: Arreguín becomes mayor, progressives seize council majority". Berkeleyside. 
  24. ^ Vogel, Cassandra (28 November 2016). "Berkeley swears in Arreguin, city’s first Latino mayor". Daily Cal. 
  25. ^ Taylor, Tracey (22 November 2016). "Undocumented immigrants face uncertainty in wake of Trump’s election". Berkeleyside. 
  26. ^ Lochner, Tom (12 December 2016). "Berkeley swears in Arreguin, city’s first Latino mayor". East Bay Times. 
  27. ^ Earl, Jennifer (26 January 2017). "Boston City Hall lit in red, white and blue to send Trump a message". CBS News. 
  28. ^ a b c "Berkeley Mayor Gets Death Threats In Wake Of Yiannopoulos Riot". CBS News San Francisco Bay Area. 8 February 2017. 
  29. ^ "Milo Yiannopoulos talk at UC Berkeley cancelled after protests erupt". KTVU Channel 2 News. 1 February 2017. 
  30. ^ "Mayor of Berkeley answers tough questions following Milo Yiannopoulos riots". KTVU Channel 2 News. 3 February 2017. 
  31. ^ a b Chu, Gibson (10 February 2017). "Berkeley mayor receives death threats for ‘white nationalist’ tweet". Daily Cal. 
  32. ^ Greenberg, Alissa (17 March 2017). "Berkeley, Calif., to avoid business with companies involved in building Trump’s wall". The Washington Post. 
  33. ^ Lee, Bobby (20 March 2017). "Berkeley City Council approves resolution to divest from Trump administration’s border wall". Daily Cal. 
  34. ^ Lynn, Jessica (April 3, 2017). "Berkeley City Council Calls for Investigation into Impeachment of President Donald Trump". The Daily Californian. ‘Every day there’s a new ethical problem that warrants impeachment,’ said Mayor Jesse Arreguín. 
  35. ^ Peters, Jeremy; Fuller, Thomas (26 April 2017). "Ann Coulter Says She Will Pull Out of Speech at Berkeley". New York Times. 
  36. ^ St. John, Paige (27 April 2017). "Berkeley mayor: Conservatives exploiting 'engineered intense animosity' against city". Los Angeles Times. 
  37. ^ Wallace, Christopher (25 April 2017). "UC Berkeley riots: Violence looms as mayor questioned over ties to extremist group". Fox News. 
  38. ^ Dinkelspiel, Frances (24 April 2017). "Berkeley College Republicans file lawsuit to force Cal to let Ann Coulter speak". Berkeleyside. Retrieved 26 April 2017. 
  39. ^ Booth, Edward (31 May 2017). "City Council unanimously passes Wells Fargo divestment plan". Daily Cal. Retrieved 22 August 2017. 
  40. ^ Orenstein, Natalie (11 July 2017). "Mayor Jesse Arreguín pledges to ‘re-earn’ Berkeley’s progressive reputation". Berkeleyside. Retrieved 22 August 2017. 
  41. ^ Lochner, Tom (16 Aug 2017). "Upcoming right-wing rally has no permit, Berkeley mayor says". East Bay Times. Retrieved 22 August 2017. 
  42. ^ Lee, Chantelle (15 Aug 2017). "Berkeley mayor exploring ‘legal means’ to stop planned alt-right rally". East Bay Times. Retrieved 22 August 2017. 
  43. ^ "East Bay Politicians Speak Out Against Hate Ahead Of Berkeley Rally". 22 August 2017.