Incumbent Jesse Arreguín leads race for Berkeley mayor

Photo of Jesse Arreguin in July 2017.
Lianne Frick/File
Since assuming the position of mayor in 2016, incumbent Jesse Arreguín has worked to increase affordable housing opportunities in Berkeley while addressing the ongoing climate crisis. 

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Update 11/4/2020: This article has been updated to include statements from candidates. 

Updated 11/05/20: This article has been updated to reflect Alameda County election results released as of 5 p.m. Nov. 5.

Incumbent Jesse Arreguín is leading the race for Berkeley mayor with 64.99% of the vote, defeating candidates Wayne Hsiung, Aidan Hill and Naomi Pete as of press time.

Since assuming the position of mayor in 2016, Arreguín has worked to increase affordable housing opportunities in Berkeley while addressing the ongoing climate crisis.

“You have come together to show what a strong, united community, and a good, progressive local government can do together,” Arreguín said in a statement. “Together we will get through these challenging times and lead Berkeley forward to a better day.”

To increase opportunities for affordable housing in Berkeley, Arreguín has worked to ensure the distribution of Measure O funds, which have been used to construct affordable housing for the city’s senior citizens. 

Arreguín has also supported the $20 million Berkeley Way Project, a development intended to provide affordable housing to those who need it, including the city’s growing homeless community.

“Together we will continue to protect our people from this awful virus and ensure a just and equitable recovery. We will accelerate our fight against climate change and reach our goal of becoming a fossil fuel free city by 2030,” Arreguín said in the statement. “We will prepare our community for the ongoing threats of wildfire, reform the way we police our streets in order to achieve our vision of equal justice for all, and continue building affordable homes.”

In the past two years, the city has enacted ordinances prohibiting single-use plastics while also pushing for residential natural gas construction. Such policies, according to Arreguín, have placed Berkeley at the forefront of environmental policy on a national scale.

While mail-in ballots are still being counted, opponent Hsiung has 23.05% of the vote while Hill has 9.06% of the vote, as of press time. Pete, who has 2.19% of the vote, is currently not running an active campaign.

“I wanted to thank you, again, for your support,” Hsiung said in a statement. “As I wrote in the days before the election, regardless of outcome, this campaign was first and foremost about grassroots power, not about politics as usual. Our mission is to continue fighting for change, as a grassroots movement.”

During his campaign, Hsiung pledged to end homelessness in Berkeley by 2025 through a wealth tax that would fund affordable housing. He has also stressed the importance of creating a five-year plan that would only permit carbon-neutral businesses, making Berkeley the first “Green New City.”

Hill’s campaign focused on continuing their work as an activist to preserve green spaces, such as People’s Park, while also addressing climate adaptation, cybersecurity and social equity.

Hill could not be reached as of press time.

Check back for updates. 

Contact Mallika Seshadri at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @SeshadriMallika.