The citywide process for developing Oakland’s next two-year budget (2021-23) has begun, with Council offices currently collecting input from residents on how resources should be prioritized to meet community needs. Adopting a balanced budget is the most important responsibility of the City Council, and we need to hear from you.
Please complete and share my office’s 5-minute budget survey here by Friday, March 12. Your feedback is critical to improving services, infrastructure, and investments in Oakland.
Everyday Oaklanders face many barriers in navigating complex processes like developing the city budget, yet I’m reminded by what’s possible with community leadership. Thanks to your ideas and participation last budget cycle, my office was able to advocate for and win investments in the city’s 2019-21 budget such as:
- $12M for community land trusts to take property off the speculative market and preserve it for permanent affordability, preventing displacement of Oaklanders
- adding a 4th illegal dumping crew to cover the city’s four zones
- funding to upgrade D2 facilities: Madison Park, Lincoln Square Park & Rec Center, San Antonio Rec Center & Head Start, Oakland Library Main Branch, Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) and Oakland Asian Cultural Center
- funding to launch Business Improvement Districts in Chinatown and Eastlake
- funding to deepen the work of the Black Arts Movement & Business District CDC, Center for Refugees & Immigrants and Asian Health Services
SAVE THE DATE: Stay tuned for info on joining our District 2 Virtual Budget Town Hall on Tuesday, March 9th, 5:30-6:30pm. We’ll join budget experts to understand the budget process, current allocations and priorities.
You can also see the results of the 2021 City of Oakland Budget Priorities Survey here. (Summary presentation begins on page 18.)
Oaklanders, again, have overwhelmingly expressed that housing and homelessness should be our top, urgent priorities for this 2-year budget.
In this newsletter, you’ll find information about:
- Community solidarity in response to anti-Asian violence
- Important items for Tuesday’s Council meeting
- City and District 2 news and resources
Love, Healing & Cross-Racial Solidarity
Coming Together in the Wake of Violence
The outpouring of support from Oaklanders in the wake of violence against our Asian community has been powerful to witness and share over the last few weeks, including the Love Our People, Heal Our Communities vigil, last weekend’s Black Love & Solidarity events, and Stories of Solidarity: API and Black Artists in Oakland Unite, which my office was honored to co-present a few days ago with the City of Oakland’s Cultural Affairs Commission.
Thank you for honoring our communities’ traumas, making space for healing, standing against racism and violence, and building multi-racial solidarity together across Chinatown, Little Saigon, and BIPOC communities throughout Oakland. Together, we’re calling for community-led solutions to violence. Props to Oakland Chinatown Coalition, Community Ready Corps, Asians 4 Black Lives, and many other partners for leading.
In case you missed it, here are some highlights of the resilience, solidarity, and celebration in the news and in community:
- Lincoln Elementary students in Chinatown created beautiful artwork for their Lunar New Year Art Contest in partnership with Oakland Asian Cultural Center.
- On Valentine’s Day, my Chief of Staff Miya Saika Chen and I chatted about our experiences as API women, ancestors, appreciations, and hopes for serving our community as we usher in the powerful energy of the Year of the Ox.
- “Asian and Black communities aim to work together after high-profile attacks” from KTVU
- “Crime, race, safety: what’s really happening in Oakland Chinatown?” from The Oaklandside
- “Rising crime, calls for solidarity: a deeper look at what’s happening in Chinatown” from The Oaklandside
- “Oakland Mayor Blames Crime Wave Against Asians on Defunded Police; Black and Asian Activists Disagree” from Newsweek
- “Hate Crimes Against Asian Americans Are on the Rise. Many Say More Policing Isn't the Answer” from Time Magazine
Tuesday 3/2: Council Meeting Preview
MACRO Mental Health Program, Rent Adjustment Program, Development Services & more
This coming Tuesday, March 2nd’s 1pm City Council meeting will include the following important agenda items:
- Item 7: We’ll receive a report I requested of the City Administration to review the option of implementing the Mobile Assistance Community Responders of Oakland / MACRO pilot program with City of Oakland civilian employees and to report on additional possible contracting options. There is widespread community support to expedite launching MACRO to provide civilian mental health response through the fire department, which already houses first responders operating night and day with a 911 dispatch system.
- Item 8: We’ll consider adopting a resolution from Vice Mayor Kaplan aimed at supporting the city’s economic recovery by unfreezing vacant positions that would, if filled, allow for a faster permitting process to address impediments to building housing and opening businesses, as well as facilitate the influx of urgently needed tax revenue to fund vital public services. The resolution would provide a FT position in the Human Resources Department to expeditiously hire positions funded by Development Services Fund 2415, which include roles in Planning & Building and OakDOT essential to performing Oakland’s development activities.
- Item 10: We’ll receive the Rent Adjustment Program’s annual report for FY 2018-20 from the city’s Housing and Community Development Department. The RAP supports renters and landlords in fostering fair housing and enforcing the city’s maximum annual rent increase. Read more about their services in The Oaklandside.
- Item S11: We'll receive a report presenting the results of the City’s Budget Advisory Commission Budget Poll of Oakland Residents to inform the city's FY 2021-23 budget.
City + District 2 News and Resources
No-Cost Tax Assistance, Mass Vaccination at Coliseum, Violence Prevention Town Hall & more
Mass Vaccination at Oakland Coliseum: Thank you Vice Mayor Rebecca Kaplan and CM Treva Reid for calling on our state and federal government to bring a mass vaccination site to the Coliseum, which will administer up to 6K vaccines daily. Call 1-833-422-4255 or visit myturn.ca.gov to schedule an appointment. Currently, healthcare workers, long term care residents, food / agriculture / education / childcare, emergency services and those 65 and older can access vaccines. This is an important step to ensure vaccines are available for our communities most impacted by COVID in East Oakland. AC Transit is providing free shuttle rides from Coliseum BART and the Eastmont Transit Center. Sign up for regular vaccine updates from The Oaklandside by texting “oakland” to 510-281-3464 or “hola” to 510-800-8305 for updates in Spanish.
Provide Feedback on Reimagining Public Safety Recommendations: Join a Community Listening Session on Tuesday, March 9 from 6-7:30pm to give feedback on the draft recommendations of the Reimagining Public Safety Task Force and Advisory Boards, aimed at refunding community services and programs that address the root causes of violence and crime by reallocating 50% of Oakland’s traditional policing resources. You can also email [email protected] or call (510) 663-4399 to share your perspective.
Department of Violence Prevention / DVP Town Halls: Share your perspective on how the city can improve efforts to prevent and interrupt violence in our communities to help DVP plan for future program and service investments. Join the Central East Oakland conversation on Thursday, March 11 from 5-7pm and Deep East Oakland on the 18th. Learn more and register.
Lincoln Square Park Project Update: Join Friends of Lincoln Square Park on Wednesday, March 3 from 5-6pm to hear the latest updates on the city’s planned renovation and expansion of Lincoln Square Park & Rec Center and share your fresh ideas for programming. RSVP here and/or complete a planning survey in English or Chinese.
Love the Lake? Take this Survey! The City seeks feedback about Lake Merritt on street vending, traffic and parking, cleanliness and the environment, quality of life issues, and the top issues you care about. Take the survey at: oaklandca.gov/lakemerritt. Save the date for discussions about the Lake at the March 10 Parks & Recreation Advisory Commission and the March 22 Life Enrichment Committee. Details will be available 10 days in advance.
Dr. Huey P. Newton Way Dedicated in West Oakland: A section of 9th Street in West Oakland was recently dedicated as Dr. Huey P. Newton Way, in honor of the former Black Panther Party co-founder’s revolutionary legacy. The celebration -- bringing together Party members, residents, and Councilmembers -- took place just a few blocks from where Newton was shot and killed in 1989. Read more from East Bay Times.
OUSD Launches Meal Delivery: To ensure that all OUSD students get school meals to support Distance Learning, OUSD is coordinating a home meal delivery program. Once a week, a driver will drop off a full week of food including 7 breakfasts, 7 lunches, and 5 dinners for each child. Sign up here and learn more from The Oaklandside, including links to the form in Spanish, Chinese, and Arabic.
E 12th St. Development Update: The City Administrator provided yet another extension to build the long-promised housing project on E 12th St. and 2nd Ave. It’s not acceptable for any public land to sit vacant during a housing crisis. The parcel should immediately be used to provide transitional housing for unsheltered residents and then long-term permanent affordable housing. Read more here from Oaklandside.
Parkway Theater Development Update: The Planning Commission recently approved the Conditional Use Permit application for Group Assembly Commercial activity, for a theater with an accessory cannabis dispensary use and on-site consumption, for the Parkway Theater on Park Boulevard. See background on our office's work to facilitate community engagement when this project first came for CUP approval in 2019. Find project documents (i.e. Decision Letter, approved plans) on the ACA/Online Permit Center; search by address or permit number (PLN20161).
Oakland Waterfront Ballpark Draft Environmental Impact Review / EIR Workshop: Next Saturday, March 6 at 10am, join the city’s informational workshop to learn about the key analysis and findings of the Oakland Waterfront Ballpark District’s draft EIR. Learn more here from the city and read more here from The Oaklandside.
Asian Employees Association Port of Oakland Scholarship: The application is now open for the Port’s Asian Employees Association Scholarship Program for graduating high school seniors attending a school in Oakland. Apply by 4pm on Thursday, April 1. Learn more here and contact Thanh Vuong with questions.
No-Cost Tax Preparation Assistance: The Alameda County – Oakland Community Action Partnership (AC-OCAP) is once again providing no-cost, multilingual tax preparation assistance by Certified IRS volunteers to households with earned income of $56,000 or less in 2020. Call the city’s EITC hotline at 510-238-4911 to schedule your appointment and learn more here.
Oakland Launches Free Job Training Platform: The city’s Workforce Development Board is launching a free, online skills training platform to help Oaklanders improve a wide variety of skills, earn industry certificates, launch into new careers or advance their careers. Register to access more than 5,000 self-paced courses leading to over 180 industry certificates, with online classes in English, Spanish and Cantonese.
Join Monthly District 2 #MakeOaklandBetter Clean-Ups: Join Forever Oakland Inc. / Make Oakland Better on the 1st Saturdays of each month, starting March 6th, for COVID-safe efforts to pick up trash and feed our unhoused neighbors. Meet at the corner of E. 12th St. and 18th. Ave, 1-3pm. Contact Chris Leighton at 510-329-0457 or [email protected] for more info.