Welcome to the District 4 website. Here you will find information on upcoming events, resources, and policy issues, learn more about my work on the City Council, and find links to information on city services.
I am honored to represent District 4, the heart of Berkeley. Our district is a diverse and wonderful area encompassing the Downtown and North Shattuck commercial districts, as well as residential neighborhoods west of Martin Luther King Jr. Way and north of University Avenue.
Over the past six years, I have worked hard to build a greener, brighter future for our city. I have worked with the entire Council on a wide range of issues and have been successful in passing laws: promoting urban agriculture in Berkeley; protecting tenants; streamlining the permitting process Downtown; implementing police reforms to protect the civil liberties of residents; and establishing an Affordable Housing Mitigation Fee to fund new affordable housing units. My priorities include, Downtown revitalization, economic development and creating jobs, addressing climate change, and affordable housing and tenants rights.
As a full time Councilmember, I work every day on your behalf and I am committed to listening and working with you. Please do not hesitate to contact my office if you have any questions, concerns or suggestions. We are always here to help! My office sends out periodic newsletters with information about crime alerts, community events, and city issues. To be added to our email list please send us an email message with "Newsletter" in the subject line.
I look forward to working with you to ensure that Berkeley remains a diverse, socially just, and vibrant place to live.
UPDATES ON IMPORTANT CITY ISSUES
Homeless Task Force Recommendations
Homeless Task Force Draft Recommendations are available for public review. Click here to download a draft of the recommendations. Email us your comments/questions to SElgstrand@cityofberkeley.info
"Significant Community Benefits" from Downtown High-Rises
The Berkeley City Council is currently developing a framework for significant community benefits required from high-rise buildings Downtown. My office held a workshop on April 15th to gather community input on benefit priorities. We will present the community comments to the City Council at the May 5th meeting and post the report here once its completed.
When the voters of Berkeley approved Measure R in November 2010 they gave property owners and developers overnight a significant increase in property values by upzoning the entire Downtown area, and allowed builders to significant exceed height limits, with the understanding that the community would get something back. Unfortunately, current city law is vague and does not specify what "significant community benefits" these projects must provide. As a result issues like affordable housing, green building and sustainability, arts and culture and other important community needs may not be addressed. In addition, the lack of specific community benefit requirements has raised concerns on the part of builders and the community as to what the city's expectations are. That is why throughout the ten year Downtown Plan process I repeatedly advocated for adopting a clear and specific community benefits policy, yet the majority of the City Council decided to leave the policy open ended and unclear.
As the City Council is deciding on what benefit requirements to adopt, its important that we hear from citizens about what priorities we should set. Please attend the May 5, 2015 special Council meeting at 7 p.m. in Council Chambers, 2134 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, and email the Council at firstname.lastname@example.org with your ideas.
Statement from Councilmember Jesse Arreguin in response to the recent protests in Berkeley:
First, it is important that the message that black lives matter does not get lost in the unfortunate events of the last 48 hours.
I strongly support the overwhelming majority of protesters who are peacefully opposing the racial inequities in our criminal justice system. Unfortunately, there is very small and antagonistic fringe engaging in senseless destruction and violence that undermines the legitimate demands to reform our justice system. This fringe cares about mayhem, not the message.
I also support our officers to the extent that they have been working to keep our community safe and apprehending violent agitators. However, their indiscriminate reaction in such a stressful situation has not been perfect and may have added fuel to the fire by targeting both peaceful and non-peaceful protesters alike with tear gas and rubber bullets. Witnessing firsthand the protest at its early stages last night, it is unfortunate that many innocent participants and members of the media have been literally caught in the middle of a cycle of violence.
My heart goes out to those peaceful protesters who were injured by both aggressors and the police, and to the many businesses who were vandalized and whose property has been damaged. I hope going forward that the police will partner with peaceful protesters to proactively identify, isolate, and arrest those who have no respect for our community by committing violence and destruction.
Contact: Anthony Sanchez, Chief of Staff to Councilmember Arreguin at (650) 283-8507.
City Council Redistricting Update
I voted NO on the redistricting ordinance because I felt that it unfairly divided neighborhods throughout Berkeley and drew out the Northside area and other student housing communities from District 7. The map the City Council majority adopted in my opinion was a partisan gerrymander and I could not vote for a map that divided communities of interest. Just by following the criteria set forth in the Charter, the United Student District Amendment (USDA) map was superior: it used major streets as boundaries and did not divide communities of interest.
The boundaries of District 4 are largely the same in this map with the exception of the area north of University Avenue. The district line would end mostly at Martin Luther King Jr. Way and north of Cedar Street, there would be a one block extension to keep my block in the District. The district also now goes all the way up to Arch Street on the east.
The new boundaries will go into effect in 30 days unless there are sufficient signatures to referend the ordinance. The boundaries will be in place for the next City Council election in the fall of 2014.
In the past 10 years the City Council has faced citizen opposition to their redistricting plans. In 2002 the Council changed its map in response to a citizen referendum. I think it shows that putting the power to draw lines solely in the hands of the politicians who directly benefit is a problem, and the Council has abused this power. Even though voters voted overwhelmingly to pass Measure R in November 2012 to give Council more flexibility to do redistricting, its clear that such a blank check can be misused. I think we need to take a look at changing the way the City does redistricting, but more on that at a future point.