Happy Mother’s Day to our beloved sisters, aunties, grandmothers, daughters, mothers & more — chosen and blood. This morning, I joined the senior volunteers with Toi Shan Association to surprise them with flowers and stroll the streets to support community safety in Chinatown.
On Friday, Mayor Schaaf released her proposed biennial city budget for FY 2021-23. We have been spending this weekend reviewing several hundred pages of information in a new online format before our Monday, May 10, 1:30 pm budget hearing tomorrow.
In this $3.85 billion budget, there are some wins that are a result of our people-powered advocacy and participation over the last year; there are also areas where we must make deeper investments in our communities and workers to ensure a truly just recovery from COVID:
- Creation of a homelessness division, long overdue, to prioritize encampment management and homelessness solutions. This team’s work must also evaluate whether homelessness interventions are working and enable our City to shift if/when they are not.
- A focus of housing and community development resources on protecting renters and small property owners and investing in preserving and rehabilitating affordable housing to help Oaklanders stay in their homes.
- Staffing to support both workers and employers, staffing improvements to city permitting services, and continuing my office's work to create a Chinatown Community Benefit District.
- Investment in recommendations of the Reimagining Public Safety Task Force, including Mobile Assistance Crisis Response of Oakland (MACRO) and shifting some traffic enforcement functions out of OPD and into the Department of Transportation.
- There is also so much more to do to implement the priority recommendations of the Reimagining Public Safety Task Force (read more below), and to continue providing transparency and accountability of OPD which receives the majority of our general, unrestricted funds (read more in Oaklandside and San Francisco Chronicle).
The Capital Improvement Project (CIP) proposal includes several D2 neighborhood investments, such as improvements to these facilities:
- Asian Branch Library,
- Lakeview Branch Library,
- Main Library,
- Lincoln Recreation Center, and
- Oakland Museum of California.
The CIP also includes several transportation planning and safety projects across District 2 neighborhoods, including pedestrian safety improvements at Garfield Elementary.
My priorities for this budget are homelessness and affordable housing solutions; community safety and violence prevention; a just and equitable recovery for Oaklanders; services for every neighborhood; and dignity for our frontline City workers. This budget is an opportunity to make system-wide investments that will help lead us into a COVID-19 recovery that ensures more affordable housing and job opportunities for vulnerable Oaklanders and cleaner and safer streets and neighborhoods.
Our city budget must support all to thrive — especially our unsheltered neighbors, essential and city workers, Black, Brown, Indigenous, Asian American and Pacific Islander residents, and immigrant communities. We cannot go back to the status quo — the unacceptable conditions our most marginalized communities were already facing pre-pandemic and that have only worsened during COVID.
As Council President, I’m working with my budget team of Councilmembers Carroll Fife, Noel Gallo, and Dan Kalb to prepare amendments to the Mayor’s budget for Council consideration. This proposal will be heard on June 17 — following public budget town halls in each of Oakland’s seven districts, towards Council approval of a balanced budget by June 30.
Reminder — D2 Budget Town Hall this Wednesday: COVID-Safe, in-person at Lincoln Square Park and live-streamed on Facebook
Call for volunteers! If you’re interested in volunteering at the town hall, please contact [email protected] by Tuesday for details.
In addition to checking out the preliminary Budget Basics Town Hall I held in March and completing our budget survey in English, Chinese, Vietnamese or Spanish, please join my Budget Town Hall this Wednesday at Lincoln Square Park. Thank you to Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN), Asian Health Services, OCA East Bay and API Legal Outreach for co-hosting!
In this newsletter, you’ll find information about:
- Moving forward on housing and homelessness
- Steps forward to reimagine public safety
- City and District 2 news and resources
Council President + District 2, City of Oakland
Moving Forward on Housing and Homelessness
Identifying Vacant Sites + Partnering with Community Land Trusts
On May 4th, City Council heard several items about homelessness, including identifying sites in each Council district for homeless housing. I urged the Administration to finally take action on the major encampments in District 2 by immediately creating a safe, dignified homeless intervention, with services and community engagement, on the vacant city-owned parcel at E 12th St. and Lake Merritt Blvd. Then, building long-term affordable housing on the site. Read more in the East Bay Times.
I'm also thrilled to share the latest news in our efforts to prevent displacement and advance affordable housing preservation. On April 30th, the City of Oakland announced awarding $4.13 M to two community land trusts. This is the second round of awards from the program my office initiated in the last 2019-2021 City budget cycle to create more permanently affordable housing through community land trusts that take housing off of the speculative market and ensure it stays in the hands of working-class Oaklanders for long term community ownership and nonprofit stewardship.
Deep appreciation to ACCE Action, Oakland Community Land Trust and others for their leadership and organizing to acquire, rehabilitate and preserve affordable housing as a key anti-displacement strategy.
These funds are available from the 2016 voter-approved City Bond Measure KK. The awardees, Oakland Community Land Trust and Bay Area Community Land Trust, will develop four projects that preserve affordable housing for 28 Oakland households earning up to 80% of Area Median Income (AMI), or $73,100 for a single-person household.
This program is Oakland’s first dedicated source of public funding to preserve affordability in small site buildings—properties with 25 units or fewer, which make up the majority of Oakland’s housing stock. I’m committed to making this fund ongoing by advocating for state funding during this budget cycle and inviting partnerships with philanthropy.
Reimagining Public Safety Resolution Passes!
Prioritizing Recommendations to Move from Enforcement and Punishment to Wellness and Community Safety
Last week, City Council passed a resolution authored by Councilmember Carroll Fife and co-sponsored by me to prioritize a subset of recommendations from Oakland’s Reimagining Public Safety Task Force to help shape the city’s FY 2021-23 budget to be adopted by June 30.
The prioritized recommendations include significant expansion of citywide services and supports for:
- trauma-informed mental health response,
- civilian traffic enforcement,
- violence interruption,
- gender-based violence response,
- restorative justice,
- youth programming, and
- housing solutions.
Together, they aim to reduce situations that could lead to escalation and police violence; provide the most appropriate response to service calls, allowing officers to spend more time focused on violent crime; and address the root causes of violence and poverty.
Together we're working to move away from enforcement and punishment towards wellness, healing and community safety. Thank you to all who've organized over the years and since June 2020, 100+ volunteers on the task force and advisory boards, and community organizations who lent their support and people power. Read more from the East Bay Times.
City + District 2 News and Resources
COVID-19 Updates: Vaccine appointments are available at MyTurn.ca.gov or by calling 833-422-4255. See the California Department of Public Health’s updated guidance for fully vaccinated people and use of face coverings. While not required, Alameda County strongly advises vaccinated residents to continue to wear masks in public places, including outdoors.
AAPI Heritage Celebration: On Saturday, May 15 from 11am-1pm at Frank Ogawa Plaza / City Hall, join AAPI labor and community organizations for a celebration of AAPI heritage, solidarity with our Brown and Black communities, and multicultural youth performances. There will be an organized area for children's activities and resource tables. Lunch boxes will be provided after the program concludes.
Stipended Job Training and Leadership Program: Urban Strategies Council and Bay Area Community Services are recruiting individuals 30 years and younger who identify as impacted by the war on drugs for Transformative Pathways, an 8-week work readiness and leadership program followed by up to 3-months of job search and placement support. Participants earn $1K for completing training and up to an additional $1.5K for completing steps along their Career Action Plan. Apply here or contact Desire J. Forte at (510) 827-7316 or [email protected].
Keep Oakland Beautiful Grants: Apply by May 31 for grants of up to $800 for individuals or community groups to help fund a project that helps keep Oakland clean, green and beautiful, and brings people together in public space. Past projects have included park and open space clean-up and beautification projects; planting shrubs, flowers, community gardens; little free and pop-up libraries; graffiti removal and murals; and litter container tile mosaics.