Public Comment

Jesse vs. Mayor Tom Bates?

By Merrilie Mitchell
Monday May 21, 2012 - 05:57:00 PM

Remember the saying, “Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it.” 

Here is some important history re Jesse vs. Mayor Bates development strategies from the last (2010) election: 

Jesse Arreguin, Councilmember for Berkeley’s Downtown District #4, volunteered to run the campaign against Mayor Bates’ Downtown Plan --Measure R. Measure R doubles the area and triples allowable heights for Downtown Berkeley! Jesse agreed to take the leadership role against Measure R, but dropped the ball leaving no organized opposition to the Mayor’s well-financed plan. Jesse did not notify all those who had given him arguments or contributions to fight the Mayor’s plan, the folks who could have taken over for Jesse and run the campaign. 

Shocked when I learned Jesse had dropped the ball on the "No on R" campaign, I was told by Jesse’s campaign office that there would be something late in the campaign. This turned out to be worse than nothing. It was “No on R” yard signs, where the R looked like a P from a few feet away or more. So the yard sign confused voters, and wasted time, energy, and thousands of dollars donated to oppose Mayor Bates Downtown Plan! 

More could be said about this grim history, but the future is before us. 

Jesse and his friends now want to lead the Referendum campaign vs. Mayor Bates West Berkeley, Master Use Permit (MUP) zoning. MUP zoning could allow 100-foot tall laboratories on block-long sites or much larger, in little West Berkeley by Aquatic Park and the Bay. 

Meanwhile, Jesse is running a lot! He is running for the Democratic Central Committee (in June), and has offered to run the Referendum on West Berkeley MUP (which could start soon). Jesse says that after those he’s considering running vs. Tom Bates for Mayor. But if Jesse changes his mind or drops the ball again, it will be too late for someone else to put together a winning campaign.