BERKELEY (KPIX 5) — Berkeley voters elected a man who will be the youngest mayor ever.
At 32, Jesse Arreguin becomes the youngest and the first Latino Mayor-elect in Berkeley.
“I am an unapologetic progressive,” he said.
He’s a Cal graduate and spent the last eight years on the city council.
And he’s living one of Berkeley’s biggest issues.
Arreguin said, “One of my top priorities is addressing the housing crisis.”
Berkeley just passed a landlord tax and Alameda County also passed bond measure A-1, the mayor-elect plans to use money from both measures to build affordable housing.
Arreguin said, “I am a renter. I’m like many people in Berkeley, I’m trapped in this housing crisis.”
His victory is a referendum on current Mayor Tom Bates and his approach to growth.
There are major high-rise developments in downtown and many people complain that’s too much and too fast.
“It’ll be a little bit slower,” Arreguin said. “Because unlike the current administration, I don’t think we should just rubber stamp everything that comes forth.”
His other priority is not hard to spot. It’s right in front of City Hall.
Arreguin said, “We need to expand shelter, warming center.”
He says he wants to set up navigation centers for the homeless and get them in to permanent housing.
Jesse says another priority is keeping Alta Bates Summit Medical Center open.
Berkeley’s only ER wants to close down by 2030 to avoid earthquake retrofitting.
Arreguin said, “Berkeley would be willing to provide bond financing to help Alta Bates and the retrofit of the hospital.”
Arreguin worries Donald Trump will cut federal funding to Berkeley since it’s a sanctuary city. He says they would lose millions of dollars.