With Lunar New Year around the corner, I’m wishing all Oaklanders and our Asian American communities health, safety, prosperity, and strength in the Year of the Ox. See below for ways you can celebrate and support our beloved Oakland Chinatown!
Unity image courtesy of Good Good Eatz
On Saturday, I joined the Oakland Chinatown community to stand up for the Chinese seniors and other victims of violent crime. Every incident of crime and violence in our city causes trauma for the victims and destabilizes our communities. Everyone should feels safe in their homes and neighborhoods and have the resources to thrive. This is an important moment for healing and unity.
Thank you to the Oakland Chinatown Coalition -- including Asian Pacific Environmental Network / APEN, Asian Health Services, East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation / EBALDC -- as well as AAPI Women Lead and Good Good Eatz for organizing and maintaining a community-led presence on Chinatown streets with the goal of having more watchful eyes and ears ensuring safety for seniors, neighbors and small businesses.
On Wednesday, I joined a press conference in Chinatown to raise awareness about public safety and offer support to victims of recent violent crimes. Though the mayor mischaracterized my work and policies at the event, I set the record straight afterwards with Councilmember Carroll Fife. We clarified the role of the Mayoral Administration in decades of police overspending and their recent cuts to policing, and my proposals to reallocate funds from excessive police overtime and vacancy savings to safety programs like violence prevention in our schools and ambassador programs in our business corridors and parks.
I continue to believe we should (1) prioritize where OPD funds are best spent: in responding to and solving violent crime and (2) reinvest in alternative responses to mental health, homelessness, minor traffic issues, non-criminal issues and violence prevention. I’m deeply grateful for the community’s support in response to this week's events.
I'm also looking forward to working with Oakland's new Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong, given his firsthand experience as an Oakland native. Last Friday, I met with Chief Armstrong to discuss strategies to address violent crime across the city and in District 2 from shootings and human trafficking in San Antonio, to violent incidents in Chinatown, and armed robberies in Grandlake. We also discussed proposals to reimagine public safety to support community-led solutions that address the root causes of violence and poverty.
One concrete example of reimagining safety that my team has been working with community partners to revive and expand is the Chinatown Ambassador Program, which was in effect in 2019, and will employ community members trained in de-escalation techniques to walk the streets of Chinatown and escort seniors, build relationships and serve merchants and residents, with the goal of increasing community safety. We hope to launch this project very soon.
Support Community Safety in Chinatown: Thank you again Oakland Chinatown Coalition for organizing efforts to keep our community safe. To get involved, please fill out this form and spread the word about community efforts to build safety, cultural vibrancy and support for our Chinatown seniors and businesses affected by recent violence.
Community Safety Starts with Us
2020 was hard on so many levels, and the rise in violent crimes in Oakland and many other parts of the country is deeply concerning. My staff and I all live in District 2 neighborhoods. We share your concerns about building safe, healthy, thriving neighborhoods; and we are working with many partners to do this work in the community as well as in City Hall.
Last week, we participated in a Merchant Watch and De-Escalation Training organized by Grand Avenue Business Association and Lakeshore Avenue Business Improvement District. These kinds of safety efforts help to complement traditional policing in our neighborhoods now, as we work for long-term solutions that transform our broken systems and bring more equity.
In this newsletter, you’ll find information about:
- Ways to celebrate Lunar New Year + support Chinatown and Little Saigon/Eastlake
- Winning +$5 / hr hazard pay for Oakland’s grocery workers
- Important items at upcoming Council, Public Safety and Life Enrichment Committee meetings
Celebrate the Year of the Ox
Support Our API Communities
1. This weekend from 11am - 3pm at Pacific Renaissance Plaza, join a COVID-safe shopping spree event with many special promotions hosted by the Oakland Chinatown Chamber. I’m proud to co-present this event.
2. Check out Oakland Asian Cultural Center’s upcoming weeklong Lunar New Year virtual celebration from February 12-19, including a Virtual Community Night Market and a Quarantini Mixer featuring Chef Tu David Phu and District 2’s own Alkali Rye!
3. Support Save Our Chinatowns by purchasing the beautiful zine they created to help our struggling Chinatown businesses. This self-published, small print book is centered on the theme "Have You Eaten Yet?" and includes a timeline of Oakland Chinatown history, recipes from our Chinatown businesses, insider Chinatown shopper / discount tips, and an interview with me on the history of Chinatown organizing that I was honored to take part in.
Love + Unity with Little Saigon / Clinton Park
Fire damages Vietnamese Community Center, Lunar New Year Celebration
Show love and unity with the Eastlake / Little Saigon community in District 2, which suffered a devastating fire yesterday at Clinton Park's Vietnamese American Community Center of the East Bay (VACCEB). See the news article for ways to support VACCEB's continued operations with contributions.
This fire underscores several important issues.
Maintaining critical fire and medical services: I joined with firefighters, community members and other elected officials to raise concerns about the Mayoral Administrations' plans to brown out three fire stations. I'm grateful for your voices, and to Vice Mayor Rebecca Kaplan who identified $10M in funds, which led to restoring these critical fire and medical services. We must be responsible and transparent in our public budgeting and center our decision with those struggling as the pandemic threatens our health, homes and jobs.
Immediately housing the unsheltered: I continue to advocate for using vacant public land and buildings to immediately and safety house unsheltered residents. See information below about Council's Monday meeting on homelessness.
Join me on Sunday from 11am - 3pm at Eastlake / Little Saigon's Lunar New Year Market event organized by Oakland Vietnamese Chamber of Commerce.
A Win for Worker Power -- Thank You!
Oakland Achieves Hazard Pay for Grocery Workers
On Tuesday, Council unanimously passed my emergency ordinance requiring large grocery stores in Oakland to pay workers an additional $5/hr in hazard pay until Oakland reaches the Minimal / Yellow tier. Big thank you to Alameda Labor Council, UFCW Local 5, and CM Noel Gallo for your partnership, and to Oakland's 2,000 grocery workers who've been on the frontlines providing necessities to our community everyday.
Though California Grocers Association sued Oakland the following day, we believe our emergency ordinance is legally solid and will stand. Please join us in fighting to see this through and stay tuned for updates.
It’s unfortunate that the largest grocery corporations in the nation would rather file identical lawsuits against cities doing the right thing, than share the record-high profits they’ve accumulated during COVID with their frontline workers who need relief and deserve just compensation.
Council Committee Previews
Monday 2/8 Life Enrichment & Tuesday 2/9 Public Safety
1. Join and share e-comment for Monday’s 1:30pm Special Life Enrichment Committee meeting, which will focus on funding for homelessness intervention services next fiscal year 2021-22, including extension and funding of existing service agreements as well as new grants / agreements with service providers throughout the city.
2. Join and share e-comment at Tuesday’s 1:30pm Public Safety Committee meeting, when we’ll consider a resolution to to implement the MACRO pilot program (Mobile Assistance Community Responders of Oakland). MACRO offers a non-armed / civilian crisis responder and EMT response to a low-level, non-violent emergency calls which can involve unsheltered individual/s and those experiencing mental health challenges.
Council Meeting Preview: Tuesday 2/16
Public Safety, New Affordable Housing, Emergency Rental Assistance
The upcoming Tuesday, February 16th 1:30pm City Council meeting will include the following important agenda items:
- Item #6: Myself and CM Taylor will share updates on the Reimagining Public Safety Task Force’s work to develop community-led recommendations for the FY 21-23 city budget to shift traditional policing resources to community services and programs that address the root causes of violence and crime.
- Item #12: We will consider a resolution to accept and allocate $12.8M in federal Emergency Rental Assistance Program stimulus funds towards rental assistance and housing stability services to Oaklanders impacted by COVID-19.
See details to join the meeting and share public or e-comment.