‘A strong ally’: Berkeley City Councilmember Sophie Hahn runs for reelection

sophie hahn running re-election
Sophie Hahn/Courtesy

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Sophie Hahn, Berkeley City Council member, is running for reelection in 2020 in hopes of continuing to “problem solve” for the city she grew up in.

Hahn, who has spent most of her life in Berkeley, said she is committed to serving the community and finding new opportunities to address both past and current issues. Homelessness, affordable housing and environmental issues remain at the top of Hahn’s agenda.

“I would be very honored to continue serving this community,” Hahn said. “I’m steeped in Berkeley values and my whole life I’ve wanted this city to come closer to its ideals.”

Throughout her term, Hahn has been devoted to changing what she calls the “homeless maintenance paradigm” — a system that is not trying to end, but simply “soften the blow” of homelessness, according to Hahn.

By writing legislation with Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguín, Hahn hopes to move toward a system more focused on rehousing.

In 2018, Hahn and Arreguín wrote a $135 million bond measure used to create more affordable housing in Berkeley. This was the largest bond in the history of Berkeley, according to Hahn. 

“I’ve worked very hard on housing retention so that people who are precariously housed remain housed,” Hahn said. “Even with people at the median income in the Bay Area, you’d need rents to be less than half of what they have been.”

To address the climate crisis, Hahn has written legislation that bans single-use plastics and natural gas in new construction.

Additionally, through the Berkeley Deep Green Building proposal, Hahn seeks to make building processes more energy efficient. This includes reducing toxicity in building materials and sourcing materials from ethical suppliers, according to the proposal’s website.

Amid her campaign, Hahn also continues to show support for the Berkeley Public Schools Fund, a nonprofit that provides funding and resources for the Berkeley Unified School District, said board President Judy Appel. Appel added that Hahn has been a “strong ally,” and appreciates her support of the fund.

“I also happen to know that she and her family are really solid people,” Appel said. “A person being an actual good and giving and kind, generous person, not in their public life, but in their private life, speaks to who they are and how they will lead.”

In light of the recent Black Lives Matter protests and police reform measures, Hahn said she is willing to make the demands of the movement a reality. Hahn’s legislation on conducting a comprehensive review of police functions will be on the agenda of the Berkeley City Council meeting July 14, she added.

Hahn has received endorsements from Arreguín, State Controller Betty Yee, Berkeley Councilmember Susan Wengraf, Zoning Board Chair Shoshana O’Keefe and Zero Waste Chair Chrise de Tournay, among others.

Contact Zoe Chen at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @zoe_chen820.