Berkeley City Councilmember Rigel Robinson has joined a growing list of public officials who are calling it quits because of threats and harassment on the job. The 27-year-old councilman, who was considered a rising star in East Bay politics, stepped down from the dais Friday and ended his run for mayor.
Robinson said he was “burnt out” by the threats and stalking he faced.
“I have been in a perpetual state of stress and exhaustion for as long as I can remember,” Robinson wrote in an op-ed for Berkeleyside. “It is not sustainable, it is not healthy, and I need to make a significant lifestyle change.”
According to Robinson, people had shown up at his home and posted threatening notes on his door. He had been in contact with Berkeley police numerous times and was considering restraining orders against multiple individuals.
“For as long as I’ve been in public office, I have tolerated various forms of harassment, stalking, and threats from members of our community. Generally, I have accepted this as simply being part of the job. But when these behaviors affect my loved ones, I have to draw the line. It’s time for me to prioritize my well-being and my family,” he said.
Robinson’s resignation comes one week after the interim manager of California City resigned, citing threats to her safety.
Robinson’s decision will shake up the Berkeley mayor’s race. He had racked up a list of star-studded endorsements, including Attorney General Rob Bonta, Assemblymember Buffy Wicks, three Council colleagues, and former Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates. His District 7 seat will remain vacant until a special election later this year.