The decisions we make now about how to recover from this economic and health crisis provide rare, promising opportunities -- not to “go back to normal” or the status quo, but to emerge as a stronger and more equitable city on the other side.
That’s why I’m writing to ask for your support of three important policies coming to City Council on Tuesday. These policies aim to protect Oakland small businesses, renters, and travel and hospitality workers from the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 and to help address inequities that existed before the pandemic -- see below.
Council Preview: Call to Action
Support Small Biz, Renters & Essential Workers
1. SUPPORT LOCAL SMALL BUSINESSES & REQUIRE CORPORATIONS TO MAKE DEEPER INVESTMENTS IN OAKLAND (Agenda Item 12). My proposal for an equitable update to modernize our city’s business tax, if passed by Council, will place a measure on the November 2020 ballot allowing Oakland voters to decide on making our business tax structure progressive, meaning it would progressively increase tax rates for businesses with higher gross receipts. It would provide financial / tax relief to 24,000+ small businesses and raise approximately $27M annually for vital city services like street and sidewalk maintenance, trash collection, and homeless services. Our legislation -- co-sponsored by CMs Thao and Kalb -- includes creating a Blue Ribbon Commission of stakeholders to study the impacts of changes to our business tax rates and advise the City Council. We must act now to support 24,000 small businesses, protect vital city services and create a fair corporate tax system. Share an e-comment today or email Council at [email protected]. Read more on Oaklandside and SF Chronicle.
2. SUPPORT VULNERABLE TENANTS (Agenda Item 8). We will vote on expanded, updated tenant protections that focus on conforming with state law and strengthening protections such as limiting late fees and closing loopholes that prevent evictions. During the challenges of recent months and prior to COVID, we’ve heard from tenants facing utility shut-offs, threats by landlords to report immigration status, and violations of privacy inside their homes. Thank you to City Attorney Barbara Parker and CM Dan Kalb for co-sponsoring this legislation with me.
3. SUPPORT TRAVEL & HOSPITALITY WORKERS (Agenda Item 7). We will also vote on a “Right to recall” ordinance supporting hotel and food service workers to return to their jobs and companies prior to COVID-19. This legislation will help ensure that workers laid off during the pandemic will have the opportunity to get their jobs back before companies start to hire new employees. Thank you EBASE, UNITE HERE 2850 and many others for your leadership to protect our essential workers and to CMs Thao, Kalb, and Gallo for sponsoring.
Call for Community Support
Shop Black & Latinx Woman-Owned Businesses in Eastlake
My staff and I recently had the pleasure to visit and meet with small business owners in & around Eastlake. We shared local, state and federal resources with folks, many who've been heavily impacted by COVID-19. We urge you to patronize our neighborhood businesses and have two suggestions below to start:
1. Essence Beauty Supply (411 E 18th St, @essenceoakland on Instagram) which originally opened in 1987 is a family business that Sarah has been running since after her husband passed away in 2009. It's a 5-star rated shop and the only Black-owned beauty supply store in our City. Sarah shares incredibly good vibes & will order products for you that she doesn't already carry! Tap in at 510-835-0688 or essenceoakland.com.
2. Casa Vallarta (1910 Park Blvd) has been serving fresh-cooked Mexican food for 42 years. Last year, Blanca and her daughter Jhocelynne, former workers at the spot, bought it from the owner and were doing well before COVID hit. Please support by ordering their take-out and delivery through Door Dash and Postmates or call (510) 834-8915.
COVID-19 & City Updates
Services, Resources & Leadership Opportunities
Volunteer with Food Distribution & Clean-Ups in Little Saigon:Join Oakland Vietnamese Chamber of Commerce for weekly food distributions on Thursdays at noon at Clinton Park or monthly Saturday clean-ups of Clinton Park and the surrounding neighborhoods. Email [email protected] to signup.
Oakland Public Library Expands Sidewalk Pickup: Starting this coming Monday, July 13, you can pick up books and library materials at eight locations across Oakland: Main Library, 81st Ave., Asian Branch, Brookfield, Cesar Chavez, Diamond, Rockridge, and West Oakland. Place a hold at www.oaklandlibrary.org. You’ll receive a notification via phone, email or text when your order’s ready for sidewalk pickup.
AC Transit’s Bus Rapid Transit BRT Opens in District 2: This week, AC Transit opened the bus only lanes on International Blvd. between Derby and 16th Avenue. Bus frequency will ultimately increase to every 7 minutes during peak hours. For safety, we urge residents, business owners, employees & customers to keep the bus only lanes clear for BRT buses and emergency vehicles. Cars parked in the bus only lanes may be ticketed or towed. Share feedback at 510-891-5478 and learn more at brt.actransit.org.
Apply for Oakland Youth Advisory Commission: OAKYAC is looking for youth between ages 13-21 passionate about social justice issues and interested in improving Oakland to join their diverse team. The early deadline for the 2020-2021 cohort is this Wednesday, July 15th at 5 pm. Youth from West (District 3) and East Oakland (Districts 5, 6 & 7) are strongly encouraged to apply. Contact (510) 238-3245 or [email protected] with questions.
COVID-19 AC Transit Survey: During coronavirus, AC Transit made all rides free, implemented physical distancing and safety measures for riders and operators, and service adjustments. As Alameda and Contra Costa counties gradually reopen, many riders are returning to work or some part of their previous activities. Help AC Transit understand your “new normal” by taking their survey, available in Spanish & Chinese too. You’ll automatically be entered to win a 31-day pass for when fares resumes.
Lake Update: On weekends, crowded conditions at Lake Merritt have become unsafe in two ways: 1) overcrowding could accelerate the spread of COVID-19, 2) traffic and parking congestion have become hazardous, and have prevented emergency access and response. See the City update on traffic management, parking, street closures and community engagement.