City Councilmember Jesse Arreguin may be running for mayor, or so it would seem now that his Facebook page has been retitled to “Jesse Arreguin for Berkeley Mayor.”
On Monday, a small change to the council member’s campaign page alerted followers that he may be running for mayor in the city of Berkeley. Arreguin also said in an email that he expects his announcement to be issued Thursday, making him the first declared candidate for the mayoral seat in the city.
Arreguin’s official campaign page is not the only existing social media page promoting his candidacy. The day after city elections in 2010, John Iversen, a Berkeley resident who was concerned that Berkeley City Council was not properly representing the needs of the working people, created a separate Facebook group promoting Arreguin for mayor.
The group, called RunJesseRun-BerkeleyMayor2016, is run independently of Arreguin’s input and shows support for Arreguin, encouraging him to run for mayor. According to the group’s description, Iversen modeled the group off a similar action taken by San Francisco gay rights activist Hank Wilson, who garnered support for former California legislator Tom Ammiano.
Iversen said that he supported Arreguin’s efforts to empower the common working person and Arreguin’s housing and homelessness policies, and that Arreguin is a council member whose age is closer to the city’s median age.
Igor Tregub, vice chair of the city’s Housing Advisory Commission and a Zoning Adjustment Board commissioner, also voiced support for Arreguin because of his progressive leanings.
“His policy proposals — large and small, from new ways to generate funding for affordable housing to creating an ethics commission to allowing homeowners to grow edible gardens — demonstrate his progressive yet balanced approach to making Berkeley the best it can be,” Tregub said in an email.
Current council members were unavailable to comment on their support for Arreguin as of press time.
Should Arreguin announce his mayoral candidacy Thursday, he will do so long before the Aug. 12 deadline next year for candidate nominations, when incumbent candidates must declare their intention to run with the city clerk and submit required statements, according to City Clerk Mark Numainville.
A candidate who announces before this time “can only create their campaign committee to raise money,” said Numainville, who added that a candidate can also get endorsements prior the nomination deadline.
During the 2016 elections, Councilmembers Arreguin, Linda Maio, Kriss Worthington and Lori Droste will still have two years remaining in their current term. If one of these council members were elected to another city position, a special election will be called to fill his or her former position. If the candidate were not elected, however, he or she would continue to serve the remainder of his term as council member.
Arreguin was elected in 2008 to represent District 4, an area encompassing the Shattuck Avenue commercial district and nearby residential neighborhoods along Martin Luther King Jr. Way and University Avenue.