Mayor's Office
Mayor's Office

For more information about these press releases and other press-related inquiries,
please contact Charles Burress at or at (510) 981-7100.

(Posted April 14, 2014)


Mayor Tom Bates will highlight important changes and initiatives that are transforming Berkeley in his annual State of the City address on April 30 at Berkeley City College.

Topics will include

  • The Downtown Renaissance
  • Bike Share coming to Berkeley
  • Minimum wage for Berkeley
  • Revitalization plan for Telegraph Avenue
  • And much more on the expansion of the city’s leading role on climate change, the Mayor’s 2020 Vision for education and significant progress in transportation, development and community resources in different areas of the city.

Seating is limited. Please RSVP and print your confirmation at

What: Mayor Tom Bates State of the City Address
Where: Berkeley City College Auditorium, 2050 Center Street
When: Wednesday April 30, 2014. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. Program begins at 6 p.m.


 What's New: Berkeley Awarded Innovation Grant

The City of Berkeley has been awarded a $2 million "Innovation Grant" to implement a pilot program for dynamic pricing of parking spaces in the Southside and Elmwood districts, to manage non-resident parking in adjacent residential neighborhoods by enhancing parking enforcement, and to help reduce the number of auto trips in the city by implementing various transportation demand-management (TDM) strategies. 

The Climate Initiatives Program of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) approved 17 grants totaling $33 million to promote breakthrough techniques for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and vehicle-miles traveled around the Bay Area.

For more information about the grant program and Berkeley's pilot click here: 




Berkeley, California (Friday, October 15, 2010) - Berkeley residents now have extra protection from fire with the introduction of an above-ground water system that can pump water from San Francisco Bay up to Berkeley’s steep hillsides. This is the first use of this system to protect an entire city in the United States.  [Read the entire press release here]

Do You Have the Most Sustainable Block?

Does Your Neighborhood Have Block Power? During the months of August and September 2010, single city blocks in Berkeley will form teams and compete with one another to earn the title: 'The City's Most Sustainable Block!'  Teams will collectively earn points for their positive contributions to their neighborhood's carbon footprint, environmental aesthetic, and social currency and share the results on-line via Go Game’s interactive game engine. 

The winning team will be crowned “The Most Sustainable Block in Berkeley” and win a blow-out block party to celebrate the victory. Don’t miss out - sign up your block here: 

Money for Energy Efficiency (ME2)

Federal stimulus funding is available for whole-house energy retrofit programs!  The City of Berkeley will be offering cash incentives to increase the energy efficiency of your home, apartment building or business.  Funding is provided by the US Dept. of Energy and is available for all types of buildings and income levels! Energy retrofits help you save money, improve building comfort, safety and durability as well as reduce your carbon footprint! 

- Up to $8,500 for single-family & duplex homes (including rebates through PG&E)
- Up to $30,000 for commercial & multifamily properties
- Includes $200 rebate for home energy audit and $1,200 rebate for home improvements that reduce energy use by 20%
Come to a public workshop to learn how you can qualify for this funding!

North Berkeley Senior Center
Tuesday, June 15th 6-8pm
1901 Hearst Avenue, Berkeley CA 94709

South Berkeley Senior Center
Thursday, June 17th 6-8pm 
2939 Ellis Street, Berkeley CA 94703

For those who cannot attend, presentations will be available on the website below after June 15th.
For more information, please see or call 510-981-7438
Subscribe here  to receive email updates as more information becomes available. (


Funding Secured for New Bay Trail Extension at Berkeley Marina

I just returned from the state capitol after meeting with the Coastal Conservancy.  I am happy to report that I was able to secure $355,000 from the Conservancy as a match to a larger $2 million federal transportation grant.  The money will be used to construct an extension of the SF Bay Trail within the City of Berkeley's part of Eastshore State Park. In addition, the funding will enable the City to construct a water access ramp for wind surfers, kite surfers, kayakers and other water enthusiasts at the Berkeley Marina.
When completed, this multi-use trail will connect our Berkeley bike bridge to Adventure Playground, the Nature Center, Skates, H.S. Lordships and the Berkeley Pier.  This is a first segment of a larger project to improve bicycle/pedestrian access to and throughout the Berkeley waterfront and Eastshore State Park.

Climate Action Plan Wins APA California Northern Award

Our City of Berkeley Climate Action Plan has been selected as the winner of the The American Planning Association’s 2010 Outstanding Planning Award.  The award highlights innovation in green community planning.


Berkeley's Downtown Plan makes the New York Times. Read more here:

Berkeley’s Green Scorecard Website

The City of Berkeley launched an interactive web-based tool today that presents scorecards on local sustainability trends such as community energy use, waste disposal, and tree planting in Berkeley.  The website enables residents to, with a few clicks of a mouse, access relevant, up-to-date information about Berkeley’s progress toward its climate action goals.  In addition, the site provides a forum for questions and feedback regarding implementation of the City’s Climate Action Plan. 

The website is called the “Berkeley See-It.”  See-It is a performance management and communications software developed by Visible Strategies with support from the San Francisco Foundation and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. 

To view the Berkeley See-It website, please visit the City of Berkeley website at:


YMCA Teen Center Breaks Ground

Congrats to the new YMCA Teen Center at 2111 MLK Jr Way. Once completed, this LEED certified (proposed) center will be fantastic for our Berkeley youth. Read more here:


Studies Show Berkeley's 'Green' Efforts Could Assist Public Health

"A new series of research papers revealed that some measures designed to decrease greenhouse gas emissions may also benefit public health, which is an area that heavily influences many of Berkeley's energy-saving programs."  Read more from this Daily Cal article:


Our Berkeley FIRST program is highlighted in the most recent Scientific American as one of 20 "World Changing Ideas" (AKA 20 ways to build a cleaner, healthier, smarter world).

More info here:



City of Berkeley receives over 100k from the U.S. Department of Energy to encourage solar locally

The City of Berkeley recently received over $100K for two of its innovative solar programs (Berkeley Solar Map and Smart Solar). Read more here...

Biden to Model Solar Finance Plan on Berkeley FIRST

Since Berkeley adopted its solar financing plan last year, cities and states across the nation have adopted similar models.  Now, Vice President Biden says that Berkeley FIRST will serve as a national model.  Read more in this SF Chronicle article here:


Vote Now for Local Berekeley Start Up BTTR Ventures

Website to vote on (BBC Project Name:  FUNGI TOWN ):
Time:  It takes less than 10 seconds!
•  Cal grads Alex and Nikhil recently founded BTTR Ventures ( in Berkeley, CA -  a sustainable company that transforms a waste stream into three value-add products that sell at Whole Foods and local nurseries
•  Named among the top 12 finalists – and only American team – out of 1,500 int’l social ventures in the BBC / Newsweek 2009 World Challenge
• A brief video is up online (; a full documentary on our venture will air internationally on BBC World and/or PBS on October 10th (check local listings for exact times)

StopWaste Business Efficiency Awards Celebration

Help us celebrate the 2009 winners of the annual StopWaste Partnership Business Efficiency Awards, among them one top Berkeley employer! The annual awards honor medium and large Alameda County businesses whose continuous efforts to improve environmental performance and business efficiency have achieved outstanding results. The event will also feature the release of the 2009 East Bay Indicators Report, an analysis of the region's economic, environmental and social developments; and a panel discussion on "Competitive Advantage through a Sustainable Supply Chain" with panelists from Kaiser Permanente and Give Something Back. 

 Date: Friday October 16, 2009
8:00-10:00 AM
(7:30 AM – Registration, free continental breakfast and networking)

Midtown Event Center, 420 14th Street, Oakland, CA 94612
(Between Broadway and Franklin, near 12th Street BART)

Free event but RSVP required:


 510ARTS.COM Launches!

The cities of Berkeley, Emeryville, Oakland and Richmond will come together in an unprecedented partnership to promote the arts in a new East Bay Culture Corridor (EBCC). The EBCC will formally launch on October 2nd and will kick-start a month of public events celebrating the collaboration.



510 Arts

The four-city arts collaboration is believed to be the first of its kind in the US and is designed to serve as a model of forward-thinking partnerships that put the arts forward as a proven catalyst for economic development, quality of life and community sustainability. The EBCC will foster relationships between the diverse arts communities of each city, leverage new audiences and resources for the arts, increase the visibility, accessibility and sustainability of arts communities, leverage new resources for each partner city and benefit local businesses through partnerships with the arts.


Biofuels Oasis Grand Opening!

July 18, 2009: Dubbed the "most sustainable filling station in the nation", the Biofuel Oasis hosted its grand opening ceremony on Saturday, July 18th.  The refurbished historic gas station located at 1441 Ashby St. (@ Sacramento), will be open from 7am to 8pm daily (in 6 months they will be open until midnight). 

Their biodiesel is made from recycled vegetable oil, their pumps are powered by solar panels, and their store sells urban farming supplies. See the Biofuel Oasis website for more information. 

Berkeley Ranked One of Greenest Cities in the Country

Ranked number seven, Mother Nature Network recognized Berkeley "as being a leader in the incubation of clean technology for wind power, solar power, biofuels and hydropower."  For more information click here (Mother Nature Network).

The 2009 Berkeley Family Festival and Bike Rodeo Delivers Fun For the Whole Family

WHAT: Berkeley Family Festival and Bike Rodeo: a community fair and bike safety festival

WHEN: Saturday June 20, 2009, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

WHERE: San Pablo Park & Frances Albrier Community Center
              2800 Park St (at Oregon) Berkeley, CA

WHO: Kids and their families

As in previous years, each child will be fitted and given a free bike helmet after participation in a fun and interactive safety seminar.

"The festival was a great opportunity for my daughter to practice her bike safety skills," said Lysa Samuel, mother of a kindergartener at Malcolm X. "Plus, we got to ride the bike blender, eat healthy snacks and watch the clowns perform-- what a fun day in the park!"

In addition to prizes and games, the event includes a mock-city obstacle course for kids to improve their bike riding skills, face painting, bike maintenance stations, The Prescott Circus and games from the Conscious Carnival. For parents, the City of Berkeley will offer free blood pressure screenings and nutrition and safety information for their children.

The Annual Bike Rodeo first debuted in 2003 to promote children's health and bike safety. Last year almost 200 kids were fitted with new helmets and participated in educational games. That number is expected to double this year, and there will still be enough helmets for all kids who participate.

Mayor Tom Bates Presents the 2009 State of the City At the New David Brower Center

When:Monday, June 1st at 6:30 p.m.
Where: Goldman Theater, David Brower Center, 2150 Allston Way, Downtown Berkeley

RSVP by May 27th!

Due to the limited seating, please RSVP by 5:00 p.m. May 27th at (510) 981-7100 or e-mail

Enjoy the award winning David Brower Center <> and tour the Sebastiao Salgado <> exhibit in the Hazel Wolf Gallery after the presentation.


David Brower Center Grand Opening, Sunday May 10th

Celebrate the Brower Center’s grand opening with a day of lectures, documentaries, family activities and live music. Tour the Center, meet our nonprofit resident organizations, and learn how to engage with a variety of environmental and social issues. It's the perfect Mother’s Day activity.

Sunday, May 10, 2009 11 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Free and open to the public
Full Schedule for the Day


 Josh Kornbluth Video Promotes Berkeley’s “Get Off Your Gas” Contest 

Josh Kornbluth, local comedian, actor and Energy Commissioner, stars in new video promoting Berkeley’s “Get Off Your Gas" Contest. Kornbluth takes on the role of Benjamin Franklin to promote a contest that educates and rewards Berkeley residents who reduce their a natural gas consumption. Watch the video and enter the contest right here! Applications are due April 10, 2009.

City of Berkeley Partnership Establishes a $100,000 Fund for Local Independent Filmmakers

Berkeley local filmmakers have a new funding source- The Berkeley FILM Foundation.  The application for the first funding cycle totaling $100,000 is available today at Eligibility requirements include filmmakers who live or work in Berkeley and who are in the production, post-production, and distributions stages of feature-length or short-form narratives or documentaries.

The deadline for grant applications is April 14, 2009.    The complete guidelines and application may be found at  For more information on the grant guidelines contact Barbara Hillman at (510) 549-7040.

First Two Berkeley Homes Go Solar with Berkeley’s Innovative Financing Program 

Mayor Tom Bates hand delivers the first check and recognizes property owners that financed their solar systems through the Berkeley FIRST program.

[Continue reading...]


Buy Local Berkeley

The Buy Local Berkeley campaign is a partnership of the City's diverse shopping district and business organizations that is working to inspire and encourage local residents to shift their spending to Berkeley businesses whenever possible. Purchases at locally-owned Berkeley businesses have a very positive economic impact on the local economy -- much more than buying at out of town merchants, at non-local chain stores or on the internet. Local business suppliers and services firms are also a beneficiary of this effort.

The Office of Economic Development has contract with Buy Local Berkeley to help them educate residents about the economic, environmental, community, and cultural benefits of shopping locally. For more information, please visit their website at

American Public Media's Marketplace Features Berkeley's Solar Financing Program

Listen to report here.  "Financing green projects can be expensive, so cities are rethinking the economic model to fund renewable energy. A pilot project in Berkeley, Calif., will use city bonds to pay for the costs of installing solar panels, with money being recouped later through a surcharge on property taxes." Sam Eaton reports.

MTC Honors City of Berkeley for its Contributions to Bay Area Transportation

City CarShare and the city of Berkeley’s AccessMobile will receive the Doris Kahn Accessible Transportation Award for providing the nation’s first wheelchair-accessible car-share van. The AccessMobile, funded by a $25,000 award won by the city of Berkeley and matched by City CarShare, provides a new mobility option for wheelchair users. The van can transport two individuals using wheelchairs, plus three additional passengers and a driver. The AccessMobile launched in Berkeley on Earth Day, April 22.

(October 21, 2008)


Click here to subscribe to future updates to this page.

Berkeley Mayor Bates Receives United Nations Americas Award for Excellence 2008

Berkeley, California (September 17, 2008) -The same day the Berkeley City Council unanimously approved the first-in-the-nation Energy Efficiency and Solar Financing District, Mayor Bates was selected as the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) 2008 Americas Award Laureate for Excellence in Environmental Sustainability. The UNITAR Selection Committee recognized Mayor Bates because of his “efforts and outstanding work in implementing climate protection strategies”. The Berkeley Climate Action Campaign is cited as “a best practice on how a community-based effort has served to identify and implement strategies that achieve Berkeley’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction target”.




Berkeley FIRST Clears Important Hurdles

New York Times: Berkeley Approves City-Backed Loans for Solar Panels 
September 16, 2008
"The Berkeley City Council late Tuesday unanimously approved a program to give city-backed loans to property owners who install rooftop solar-power systems. The loans, likely to total up to $22,000 apiece, would be paid off over 20 years as part of the owners’ property-tax bills."

KGO News Video: Berkeley Encourages Residents to Go Solar 
September 16, 2008
A unanimous vote in Berkeley on Tuesday night lights the way for that city to be the first in the nation to make solar panels affordable. The mayor says San Francisco, San Jose, even cities as far away as Annapolis, Maryland are interested in following Berkeley's lead.

The Guardian (UK): Berkeley, California approves city-backed solar loans
September 18, 2008
The California city of Berkeley has approved a new financing scheme for loans to homeowners who install rooftop solar panels, a landmark programme that could inspire other US cities to follow suit.


This is Berkeley? Via Article Celebrates Berkeley's Treasures
September, 2008



This is Berkeley?

In a recent article in VIA Magazine's September 2008 edition Josh Sens writes that the city of Berkeley has emerged "in its full dimension as a destination brimming with outdoor beauty and activities, cultural attractions, and some of the West’s finest cuisine."  He goes on to write that "[b]eyond its premier university, Berkeley brims with colorful boutiques, haute cuisine, and a sense of humor."

Read the full article



Mayor Bates Kicks-Off 5th Annual Reading and Health Program for 1,000 Low-Income Berkeley Kids
June 26, 2008


Project Build 2008

“Project BUILD is a wonderful program that provides nearly 1,000 low-income children with the opportunity to read, learn, and be active over the summer,” said Mayor Tom Bates, who created the program in 2004. “We are helping these kids maintain their literacy skills at a time when they are most and risk, while also promoting healthy eating and exercise habits.” 

More about Project BUILD




City of Berkeley Awarded $300,000 MTC Grant to Improve Downtown
June 25, 2008



berkeley collage

 On Wednesday, June 25, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) awarded the City of Berkeley $300,000 from the Station Area Planning Grants to help actualize our new Downtown Area Plan within months rather than years. The Plan envisions a more beautiful, livable and thriving mixed-use district.



City of Berkeley and Berkeley Unified School District Join Forces to Eliminate the Achievement Gap
June 25, 2008

“Success in school is not the sole responsibility of the School District – it is all of our responsibility. Kids are in their homes and the community
more hours a day than they are in school”, said Mayor Tom Bates. “The disparity in educational outcomes between African American and Latino Students and their White and Asian peers cannot be tolerated in our community. We want all of our youth to graduate high school with a high quality education and clear pathways to college and/or careers.” 



Carbon Fee – First of its Kind!

Earth in Hand

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District's board of directors on Wednesday approved new rules to charge businesses a fee for the pollution they emit. As a board member of BAAQMD, I first proposed the idea of a carbon fee last September. These unprecedented new rules will impose fees on factories, power plants, oil refineries and other businesses that emit carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases. The agency, which regulates air pollution in the nine-county Bay Area, will be the first in the country to charge companies a fee based on their greenhouse gas emissions. The new rules will take effect July 1.


Study Ranks Berkeley Second ’Greenest’ City In California

berkeley collage

A recent study by researchers at UCLA has affirmed Berkeley’s reputation as being one of the country’s most environmentally conscious cities.   The report, titled "Green Market Geography," ranks Berkeley as one of California’s "greenest" cities, second only to its northern neighbor, Albany.   The report, authored by UCLA economics professor Matthew Kahn and graduate student Ryan Vaughn, was based largely on political data comparing California cities’ voting records on environmental issues. 




Sustainable Industries Magazine: New breed of leaders go far, fast
June 9, 2008

Mayor Tom Bates, who began his term as mayor of Berkeley in 2002, formed a sustainable business team dedicated to building the city’s “green” economy. The team includes more than 200 green businesses. Mayor Bates also reached beyond his electoral base and engaged with other municipal leaders to initiate a region-wide plan. Mayor Bates created a special assessment district to provide financing to citizens and businesses that install solar photovoltaic panels, which would then be paid back from slight increases to the property taxes of participating landowners. Mayor Bates proves that leadership can help grow an economy, support local businesses and improve community well-being.



New Athletic Fields Opening Soon!
April 11, 2008

gilman field

Mark your calendars! The $7 million Tom Bates Regional Sports Complex
 for soccer, baseball and softball will hold its grand opening on September 6th. The complex, which includes two high tech artificial turf fields, will draw about 250,000 players and spectators a year.


City Car Share AccessMobile 
April 1, 2008

Access City Car Share

Berkeley now has the nation's first wheelchair-accessible van available for use by any City CarShare member. The van, known as the AccessMobile, will increase travel options among those with disabilities.  In 2007, Berkeley won the National Organization on Disability's Accessible America contest and received a $25,000 prize. City CarShare matched that, and then some, to finance the AccessMobile.


36 Hours in Berkeley
March 30, 2008

The New York Times turned their spotlight on the treasures of Berkeley with a full page spread in the March 30, 2008 Travel section. Joshua Kurlantzick takes readers on a tour with photos and eloquent descriptions of Berkeley's diverse attractions including
 Telegraph Avenue, Fourth Street, Indian Rock and the Farmers' Market. Read the article 36 Hours in Berkeley.

Home | Web Policy | Text-Only Site Map | Contact Us
Mayor's Office, 2180 Milvia Street 5th Floor, Berkeley, CA 94704
Questions or comments? Email: Phone: (510) 981-7100
(510) 981-CITY/2489 or 311 from any landline in Berkeley
TTY: (510) 981-6903