It’s been just a few days since we celebrated Juneteenth. I’m hopeful that our Black brothers, sisters, ancestors, and all Oaklanders felt the abundance, joy, and power of community.
With recent news of alleged nooses and fake bodies at Lake Merritt, we must stand together with zero tolerance and community care. I’m inspired by how the Town responded immediately -- from the emergence of people-powered Community Patrol to artist-leaders like Kev Choice, DJ Lady Ryan and many more organizing healing efforts. This outpouring of love is what the real Oakland stands for.
If you have information, contact investigators at (510) 238- 3728 or the OPD Hate Crime Hotline at (510) 637-4283. You can remain anonymous. Meanwhile, we’ve called on City leaders to investigate and have been informed that there will be a full, thorough investigation. The City has also notified the FBI.
I also want to inform and ask for your support to spread the word about two important things happening soon:
- An update on my efforts to improve community safety & redirect OPD funds during our city budgeting process
- My proposal to modernize Oakland’s business tax structure & benefit our small businesses.
TODAY: My Proposal to Relieve Small Businesses
Making Our Business Tax Structure More Fair
At today’s 1:30pm Special Rules & Legislation Committee Meeting, I will introduce my proposal for a fair change to our business tax system to provide our small businesses -- so many women, African American and immigrant owned -- with financial relief.
My proposal, if passed by Council, would put a measure on the November 2020 ballot for Oakland voters to decide on making our business tax structure progressive, meaning it would progressively increase tax rates for businesses with higher gross receipts. This change would increase fairness, support our struggling small, local businesses, and raise new, annual revenue for vital city services like street and sidewalk maintenance, trash collection, and homeless services.
It would help 24,000+ small businesses and raise approximately $40M annually.
Thank you to Councilmembers Thao and Kalb and the Lift Up Oakland coalition for bringing together so many community members, workers, small business owners, students, and faith leaders to make this proposal possible.
TOMORROW: Our City & Police Budgets
Pushing Forward for Community Safety Investments
For tomorrow’s 12 noon City Council meeting, I have submitted a follow-up proposal to my recent previous proposal, which urges reallocating at least $25M of our police budget towards community services, such as piloting the Mobile Assistance Community Responders of Oakland (MACRO) program in East Oakland neighborhoods in partnership with community organizations. Such a program would enable a crisis worker with mental health training to be dispatched to 911 calls for mental health crises.
While I am pleased to see that the current proposed budget amendments no longer include labor concessions and that there are additional reductions to the OPD budget, I believe we must do more to divert police spending to meet community needs.
We've heard Oakland police officers themselves say “we can’t arrest ourselves out of the problems.”
To address the root causes of violent and serious crimes, our residents need mental and physical health services; youth programs; safe, affordable and stable housing; and high quality job opportunities. To address the non-violent and non-crime 911 calls, our residents need trained, trauma-informed crisis responders and mediators who are trusted by the community.
Join me in my proposal urging our City leaders to:
1. IN THE SHORT TERM, immediately commit in this FY 2020-21 budget to reallocate at least $25 million of the OPD budget toward community programs and service.
2. IN THE LONG TERM, commit to developing a plan for a 50% reduction in the OPD budget for the next two-year budget cycle FY 2021-23, from 44% to 22% of the General Purpose Fund and conversely, significantly increase funding for departments providing community programs and services that address the root causes of violence and crime.
- These departments include Housing & Community Development; Human Services; Economic & Workforce Development; Parks, Recreation and Youth Development; Race & Equity; Violence Prevention; Workplace & Employment Standards; Library; Police Commission; and Fire.
- My proposal outlines a proposed process with benchmarks and timelines to build trust with and involve the community, and show commitment to transforming community safety.
- It also calls for a 911 service call assessment to identify opportunities to answer non-emergency and non-violent calls for service with trained, civilian staff or community organizations.
My budget memo for tomorrow’s meeting is available here.