Last Saturday, May 20th, about 150 community members came together at our D2 Budget Town Hall for an important dialogue about the priorities in our neighborhoods. Participants represented 5 languages, more than 7 neighborhoods, and formed 10 small groups to discuss and organize around how the City’s two-year budget will reflect our shared values and priorities!
At our Town Hall, we:
- Learned about the City’s Budget Process, which started with Oakland’s Budget Priorities Poll late last year and culminates with a balanced budget by June 30th.
- Heard more about the Mayor’s Proposed Two-Year Budget, which closes a historic $360 million deficit without layoffs, while maintaining critical City services and making record investments in affordable housing.
- Discussed how the Mayor’s Proposed Budget addresses District 2 Budget Priorities, what’s missing, and key questions we still have.
- Committed to staying engaged in the Budget process with upcoming City Council meetings (see below for details).
We loved hearing and seeing folks discuss their priorities in these 5 topic areas. Here’s a snapshot of what we heard:
Housing Security & Homelessness Solutions: We like the record investment of $216M in affordable housing and $108M for unhoused shelter and services. We also want to: Preserve funding for homeless services, prevention, and sanitation. Build affordable housing across the district and City. Utilize public land for affordable housing and public good. Protect tenants and funding for affordable housing.
Community Safety, Prevention, & Healing: We like expanding MACRO crisis response and investing millions in traffic safety. We also want to: Preserve funding for the Department of Violence Prevention and MACRO. Reinvest funds towards community organizations and projects for youth and families, and restorative justice measures. Enforce against traffic violence, prioritize traffic calming and other road safety measures. Civilianize police positions to deal with non-violent crime.
Clean, Healthy, Sustainable Neighborhoods: We like filling positions in public works and expanding Head Start. We also want to: Keep parks clean and activated. Fund community-based programs that partner with the City on youth and family empowerment and services. Invest in children and youth.
Good Jobs and Vibrant Economy: We like filling positions in Planning & Building to support our economy. We also want to: Preserve funding for Arts & Cultural Events programs. Increase cultural arts events to attract more economic activity and investment in our communities. Support small BIPOC businesses, and help vendors and creators, especially at Lake Merritt. Unfreeze economic development positions.
- Capital Improvement Projects: We like that Lincoln Rec and San Antonio Park are included as capital projects. We also want to: Close the funding gap for Lincoln Recreation and Resilience Center to build a model center of climate resilience that serves residents citywide. Fund San Antonio Park planning, including library, recreation center, and resilience center. Invest in Clinton Park and Recreation Center in Little Saigon.
Join us and continue to share your input by attending upcoming Budget Meetings!
- May 30, 1pm @ City Hall: Special Study Session on the Budget — Download the agenda and submit e-comments
- June 14, 4pm @ City Hall: Special Council Meeting on Council President Bas’ Budget Amendments
- June 26, 4pm @ City Hall: Special Council Meeting to Approve Balanced Budget
- June 28, 4pm @ City Hall: Special Council Meeting to Approve Balanced Budget, if needed
A huge THANK YOU to the dozens of volunteers and organizations who helped with outreach and jumped in with setup and registration, food distribution, small group facilitation, text translation and interpretation equipment management, cleanup, and more. Appreciations to Alonso Hernandez for photography. This was truly a District 2 Team and community effort!
See you at an upcoming Budget Meeting! Together, we can ensure that the City's Final Budget reflects our shared values and priorities.
A note about community safety —
The pandemic, job loss, and record gun sales have all contributed to a nationwide rise in violence. Many Oaklanders feel angry and afraid following recent violent incidents, and I want you to know I condemn violent crime and gun violence. I remain committed to creating a safe and thriving Oakland for all.
I continue to work closely with Mayor Thao and her administration, the OPD officers who serve District 2 and our city, the Department of Violence Prevention, and other government agencies and community organizations to make our neighborhoods safer. Together with our partners, I am leading holistic community safety solutions:
- Violence Prevention: Partnering with trusted violence interruptors, outreach workers, and community ambassadors in our neighborhoods most impacted by gun violence and human trafficking
- Targeted Enforcement: Working with OPD to respond to crime and neighbors' concerns with focused patrols, more walking officers, and investigations to solve crimes
- Crisis Response: Expanding MACRO (Mobile Community Responders of Oakland) to answer non-violent 911 calls, allowing OPD to focus on violent crime
- Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED): Improving lighting, slowing/diverting traffic with speed bumps and other infrastructure to reduce crime, traffic violence and sideshows
- Addressing Root Causes of Violence: Getting guns off our streets. Providing for our basic needs with jobs, housing, and healthcare.
- Community Building: Staying involved with our neighbors and businesses through Oakland's Neighborhood Councils and community organizations. Addressing trauma and supporting healing with organizations such as Restore Oakland, CURYJ, and Asian Health Services.
A few highlights of our work over the past few weeks:
- Mayor Thao's Efforts Toward Accountability and Prevention Following Arrests in String of Robberies
- Grand Lake efforts to address violence and robberies - ABC7 news story
- San Antonio efforts to address violence and human trafficking - ABC7 news story
My team and I look forward to continuing to partner with all of our District 2 neighborhoods.
P.S. — For more information about Oakland's budget, check out these resources:
- San Francisco Chronicle podcast on the Mayor’s Budget Proposal
- D2 Slides in English/Chinese, Vietnamese, and Spanish (at top of page)
- Council President Bas’ Budget Priorities, March 15, 2023
- Mayor Thao’s Budget & Budget Resources
- Capital Improvement Projects Budget
Photo credit: Alonso Hernandez