Here's a preview of this Tuesday’s City Council meeting and the latest County Health Order to cover your face when outside.
Tuesday's City Council Meeting
Oakland City Council continues to meet on the first and third Tuesday of each month and our next meeting is this Tuesday, April 21st at 1:30pm. Thank you to Council President Rebecca Kaplan for successfully organizing our new teleconference meetings and focusing our agendas on critical issues to protect public health and conduct City business. I also want to thank our City Clerk, IT Director, KTOP team and all the staff who are playing crucial roles during this time.
Here are some highlights of our Council meeting agenda.
- Item 2-A: Financial Impacts of COVID-19
- Item 2-B: Oral Update on COVID-19 Response to Homelessness (see more below)
- Item 3-F: Tenant Protection, Just Cause, & Rent Ordinance Amendments (see more below)
- Item 4-B: Resolution to Protect Inmates from COVID-19 (see more below)
- Item 5: Ballot Measure Amending Powers of the Police Commission (Note: This item continues the public process on this measure from the October 2019 Public Safety Committee to allow for discussion with the Police union before coming back to Council for a future vote to place it on the ballot.)
During this global pandemic, sheltering in place is our strongest tool to prevent the spread of COVID-19. We must ensure people can stay in their homes.
That is why I authored Oakland’s eviction moratorium, which was passed unanimously and is the strongest in the state. And, that is why I continue to advocate for strong tenant protections to keep the majority of Oaklanders (renters) in their homes.
For those without homes, we must house unsheltered neighbors with healthcare and support. Oakland’s unhoused residents must immediately be moved from congregant shelters and streets into housing. The County’s most vulnerable incarcerated individuals and those with less than six months remaining, must be prioritized for release with access to healthcare and housing.
On January 1, 2020, the California Tenant Protection Act of 2019 (AB 1482) went into effect. It limits rent increases and provides just cause for eviction protection to many residential rental units not otherwise covered under local law. On January 28, 2020, the City Council’s Community & Economic Development Committee heard an informational report on local enforcement and implementation of AB 1482. City Staff made the following recommendations:
- Amend Oakland’s 10 percent annual rent cap to conform to state law.
- Add failure to pay required relocation benefits as a defense to eviction in Oakland’s Just Cause Ordinance to mirror state law.
I’m proud to join City Attorney Barbara Parker and Councilmember Dan Kalb as a co-sponsor to Tenant Protection, Just Cause, & Rent Ordinance Amendments.
These amendments will conform Oakland’s local laws with the new state law as well as provide greater clarity and protections for tenants at a time when one’s ability to stay in their home is a matter of public health. As with the eviction moratorium, I welcome specific feedback on these amendments in order to craft sound public policy that advances the public good. Make e-comments here or send an email to the City Council at [email protected].
Homeless Response to COVID-19
On March 27th, the Council passed President Kaplan’s resolution to authorize the City Administrator to "acquire buildings, facilities and supplies to prevent COVID-19 from spreading among high risk and unhoused communities" and to seek reimbursement from the Federal Government.
I recognize and appreciate the tremendous work that our state and county officials, and City of Oakland officials and staff, are leading to address COVID-19's threat and spread to the public and our most vulnerable communities.
At every level of government, we must act with the utmost urgency and determination to provide housing for unsheltered residents to be able to shelter in place.
Public information about the City’s work to house unsheltered residents is critical. I urged Mayor Libby Schaaf last Tuesday to issue a public report, and on Thursday she shared Updates on Oakland’s COVID-19 Homeless Response Efforts.
Please share your comments as the Council discusses housing unsheltered residents by acquiring buildings, facilities and supplies.
Jails are second to nursing homes for risk of infection
Individuals detained in prisons, jails, juvenile detention centers and immigrant detention centers are at higher risk of COVID-19 infection due to limited access to hygiene and sanitation, close quarters, and lack of adequate protective equipment for staff. An outbreak at Santa Rita Jail has resulted in 14 incarcerated individuals and 2 staff testing positive as of April 15th. Alameda County officials have taken important steps to stop the spread including releasing 671 inmates.
I’m proud to join City Attorney Barbara Parker as a co-sponsor to her resolution calling on County officials to release incarcerated individual with six months or less time remaining at Santa Rita Jail and to take other necessary measures to protect the health and safety of individuals detailed in and staffing Santa Rita and County juvenile detention facilities.
I appreciate the advocacy of Human Impact Partners and many other organizations who are calling for more measures to release incarcerated individuals, protect their health and safety, and ensure investment in healthy, thriving communities.
We must support successful re-entry of incarcerated individuals into our communities like measures I’ve worked with many partners on to ensure a fair chance for jobs and housing. Successful re-entry includes more robust services and resources such as testing for COVID-19 upon release, healthcare, housing, income support, and job services. For immigrants and refugees, successful re-entry includes collaboration with the County’s rapid response network, Alameda County Immigration and Legal Education Partnership (ACILEP), by notifying the network when individuals are being released who might be an interest to ICE, to ensure individuals are being safely released to their loved ones.
Health Order to Cover Face When Outside
Effective April 17, Alameda County is requiring members of the public and workers to wear face coverings while inside of or waiting in line to enter essential businesses, when seeking healthcare, and when waiting for or riding on public transportation.
The City of Oakland urges all Oakland residents, workers and visitors to comply to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
Face coverings can be simple and homemade, made of cloth, fabric, or other soft or permeable material without holes, that cover the nose and mouth. See details of the County's announcement at http://www.acphd.org/2019-ncov.aspx