Ben is married to two-time SuperLawyer and committed women’s advocate, Yelda Bartlett.
Ben was born and raised in South Berkeley. His mom was an original member of the Black Panthers.
Ben’s dad dedicated his life to organizing people in North Richmond, Berkeley and Oakland.
Ben’s dad was also a well-known East Bay musician.
Ben Bartlett: Everyone in the East Bay deserves a home
Berkeley City Councilmember Ben Bartlett is running for the California State Assembly because everyone in the East Bay deserves a home.
The fight is right here. The time to act is right now.
Lots of politicians talk about fighting President Trump. But Ben knows the real fight is to solve the problems that plague our communities here at home.
We fight Trump when we house the homeless, create green jobs, and protect our freedom.
We fight Trump when we solve displacement and economic inequality. And when we extend the circle of opportunity to everyone, we win the fight.
Ben’s East Bay Roots
Ben grew up in Berkeley in a culture of community service. Ben’s mom was an original Black Panther and his dad dedicated his life to organizing people in North Richmond, Berkeley and Oakland. “Five generations ago, my family came to the East Bay in search of freedom and opportunity,” Ben says. “And we found them – through struggle. Today, that struggle continues.”
Standing on their shoulders, Ben has built a career as an environmental lawyer uniting industry and government to address climate change, alleviate poverty with green jobs and expand opportunity for everyone. He uses the principles of environmental justice to drive investment into our poorest communities to create health and wealth. Ben is currently a founding principal at Re: Public Good, a city and climate change consulting firm.
Innovative Leadership on the City Council
Today, Ben serves on the Berkeley City Council where he was elected in 2016 to represent the people of South Berkeley. Working with Mayor Jesse Arreguín and his colleagues on the council, Ben has drafted and passed the following initiatives:
- The nation’s first Anti-displacement Public Legal Advocate
- Step-Up Housing: the groundbreaking initiative to house the homeless in prefabricated modular micro-units
- Increasing the number of Accessory Dwelling Units (in-law units) in Berkeley
- Streamlining affordable housing with an innovative community benefits package
- Divestment from companies helping build Trump’s Border Wall
- Divestment from U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) service providers, as well as any entities developing religious or ethnic registries
- The Berkeley Opportunity Index, an initiative to introduce equity in City contracting
- Funding body cameras for every Berkeley police officer
- Development of a Paid Family Leave Ordinance for the City of Berkeley
- Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging requirements for new construction and buildings undergoing major alteration
- Renaming the South Berkeley Senior Center in honor of local hero Judge Henry Ramsey Jr.
Ben has also worked on successful initiatives to:
- Ban employers from asking about prior salary history, an initiative to move the ball forward on gender and racial pay equity
- Increase funding for supplies for low-income school children
- Develop residential wind turbines
- Increase funding for anti-displacement programs such as eviction defense, housing retention funds, housing and financial counseling for low-income seniors
- Promote the creation of African American Holistic Resource Center, aimed at reducing health inequities
- Create the Small Sites Acquisition Program to create and preserve affordable housing
- Create the Tenants Opportunity to Purchase Act to prevent displacement
- Create the Tenant Protection Ordinance to guard against tenant harassment
- Amend the city charter to allow non-citizens to vote in Berkeley elections
- Prohibit discrimination in rental housing based on the tenant’s source of income
- Promote the construction of senior affordable housing
- Ban plastic straws in Berkeley to reduce plastic pollution in our waters
- Establish socially responsible investment and banking policies
A Record of Public Service and Advocacy
Prior to serving in the City Council, Ben served on numerous boards and commissions, with a commitment to making local government more responsive to the needs of residents.
- As Berkeley Planning Commissioner, Ben helped guide housing and infrastructure policy
- As a Berkeley Loan Administration Board member, Ben helped structure loans to local businesses and start-ups
- As a Berkeley Transportation Commissioner, Ben helped craft the city’s electric vehicle infrastructure
- As a Berkeley Police Review Commissioner, Ben served as a voice for accountability and cooperation
- As Vice-Chair of the Zero Waste Commission, Ben worked to save union jobs and helped create the city’s historic waste-into-energy deal and plastic bag ban
- As a regional representative for the California Clean Money Campaign, Ben worked to bring fairness and accountability to our elections
Ben also gives back to his community through non-profit and charity work, serving on the capital committee for the Berkeley Food and Housing Project, a first-of-its-kind regional resource hub for homeless veterans. He led efforts to rebuild the South and West Berkeley Library branches, and mentors the youth of his neighborhood.
A Strong Commitment to Environmental Progress
Ben previously worked with the California Clean Energy Fund, where he advanced clean energy and social equity goals on an international scale. He worked at the Bay Area Council, where he developed a Social Impact Fund and drafted the Pacific Clean Air Partnership, a clean-tech trade agreement signed by Governor Brown and the Chinese Minister of Commerce.
Ben also worked on the implementation of Cap and Trade securities and Environmental Justice protocols at the California Air Resources Board and California Energy Commission. As a board member of the Earth Rights Institute, Ben partnered with the World Diamond Council to fund the repatriation of Soldier Children in Africa.
Ben and his wife, Yelda, both earned their Juris Doctorate degrees from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. Ben holds a B.A. in Government and Classics from Colby College.