Tom in the Park Tom Bates was sworn in as Mayor of Berkeley in December 2002 and was re-elected in 2006, 2008 and 2012.


 Visionary Leadership and Experience

Tom Bates brings a lifetime of public service to the Mayor’s office – including four years as an Alameda County Supervisor, two decades as a member of the California legislature, and 12+ years as Berkeley’s Mayor. 

Tom Bates remains both the youngest person ever to serve and the first full-time Alameda County Supervisor in the history of Alameda County.  He helped establish the 100-acre minimum to save agricultural land, pushed the County to give the highest percentage of Federal Revenue Sharing funds in the nation to community organizations, including Asian Health Services, Asian Mental Health Program, Filipino’s for Affirmative Action, Pacific Center, and many others.   At the time, poor dental health was the number one reason kids missed school so Bates led a successful effort to put fluoride into the East Bay Water system.

During Tom Bates’ 20 years as a State Assemblyman he passed and had signed into law 220 bills.  He served on the Assembly Environment Committee for 19 years and consistently had a 100 percent environmental voting record; Bates also chaired the Human Services Committee for 14 years. He passed legislation for children and families, the environment, civil rights, and transit villages. Bates passed the first legislation to allow home brewing in California, and the first legislation establishing Brew Pubs. 

After retiring from the Assembly in 1996, Bates continued to serve the public. In addition to teaching at UC Berkeley, he volunteered to work with school officials and parents to provide healthier food choices for Berkeley students, including organic fruits and vegetables. He was instrumental in the adoption of healthier food policies for the Berkeley and Oakland School Districts.

Since becoming Mayor, Bates has worked to set aside old political divisions to better serve the City. A short list of Bates’ record includes: the establishment of the David Brower Center, the Ed Roberts Campus, Berkeley City College, the relocation of Freight and Salvage Coffeehouse, and the Tom Bates Regional Sports Complex.  With others he started Berkeley’s Climate Action Plan, (consider by the United Nations as the best plan in North America), 2020 Vision for Berkeley’s’ Children and Youth (focused on eliminating health and education disparities), the East Bay Green Corridor, (includes 9 cities, UC Berkeley, Berkeley National Labs, Cal State East Bay and 2 Community College Districts) and Project Build (in its 9th year, teaching reading, nutrition and exercise).

Tom Bates is a native Californian and a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley ('61). During his time at Cal, Bates was a starting right end on the 1959 Cal Rose Bowl team. After graduation, Bates served in West Germany as an officer in the U.S. Army, rising to the rank of Captain in the Army Reserves before retiring from the military in 1964.

He is married to former Mayor of Berkeley and California State Senator Loni Hancock.  Their family includes four children, Casey, Jon, Mara, and Leita, and seven grandchildren.