This November, Berkeley’s future is on the ballot. As current and former mayors, we know that residents have long ranked affordable housing, climate resiliency, and repairing our aging streets and infrastructure as top priorities. We’ve been listening, and Measure L is our response.

While recent bonds have enabled the city to create affordable housing and improve parks, streets, and other public facilities, funds have been fully committed. We need Measure L to continue the progress. But with over $1 billion in infrastructure needs remaining, we can and must finish what we have begun. Measure L will allow us to rebuild for Berkeley’s future. The urgent need for affordable housing is apparent to anyone seeking to rent or buy in Berkeley.

In 2018, voters approved Measure O. Those resources, coupled with city, county, state, and federal dollars, supported the construction and rehabilitation of approximately 800 affordable housing units citywide. For the first time in decades, new projects are opening doors to low-income seniors, families, and our formerly homeless neighbors, resulting in a 5% decrease in our unhoused population during the same period that Alameda County saw a 22% increase.

Measure L includes funding for up to 1,700 additional affordable homes — a transformational investment to help fulfill our commitment to a diverse and inclusive community. As climate change worsens, catastrophic wildfires threaten our whole community. An earthquake or blaze can down power lines and block evacuation routes, trapping people fleeing to safety and blocking access for ambulances and firefighters.

Measure L will underground power lines on key evacuation routes, an important safety improvement that can save lives. Many of our streets are in failed condition and require major investment to bring them to the excellent condition residents deserve. At the same time, we can add features that allow pedestrians and cyclists to travel safely throughout our city.

Measure L provides $300 million to bring 97% of city streets to “good” condition, repair sidewalks and paths, and add landscaping and trees to major routes. Well-loved parks and public buildings from the early 20th century no longer meet safety standards and community needs. Even with maintenance, aging facilities eventually need major upgrades.

In 2016, Measure T1 helped restore community centers at Live Oak and James Kenney Parks, North Berkeley Senior Center, the city’s Adult Mental Health Clinic, the Rose Garden and Berkeley Marina, among others. Those funds, however, are now fully committed. That’s why Measure L includes $100M to continue revitalizing our parks, senior centers, waterfront, and civic buildings.

Under Measure L, homeowners will pay an average of just 72 cents a day to generate the funds we need to renew our city. Importantly, Measure L will allow Berkeley to leverage significant state and federal matching funds. Delay means higher future costs and loss of critical momentum to keep Berkeley safe, affordable and environmentally sustainable.

In rapidly changing times, one thing we can do is take care of our community. After months of public meetings and discussion, the city council voted unanimously to place Measure L on the November ballot. Join us, the Sierra Club, the Berkeley Federation of Teachers, City Auditor Jenny Wong, East Bay Housing Organizations, and community leaders from across Berkeley to vote yes on Measure L.

Jesse Arreguín is the current mayor of Berkeley. Loni Hancock represented Berkeley in the California state senate and state assembly and was the former mayor of Berkeley from 1986-1994. Tom Bates is a former Berkeley mayor, state assemblyman and county supervisor.

The deadline to register to vote online or by mail in Alameda County is Oct. 24, and the election is Tuesday, Nov. 8. We put together a guide to the essentials of how to register and vote, what’s on the ballot, voters’ rights and more.

Here are some other helpful election resources:

See complete 2022 election coverage on Berkeleyside.