Heading into our 11th week sheltering in place, I'm inspired by recent wins for our community, such as the extension of my emergency eviction moratorium and a fall ballot initiative to provide Oakland youth with more political power!
In this newsletter you’ll find:
- Updates on Oakland’s eviction moratorium extension
- Efforts to grant youth voting power in school board elections
- Local Health Emergency for Oakland’s Black Residents
- COVID-19 Shelter in Place updates, moving to “Phase 2”
- A preview of Tuesday’s Council meeting
Protecting Renters & Small Businesses
Eviction Moratorium Extension
Thank you to all who spoke up and shared your experiences with City Council at last week’s Council meeting, including the Protect Oakland Renters coalition. You helped to make this extended support and unanimous vote possible for our community members struggling with the economic and health impacts of this pandemic. And, thank you to CM Dan Kalb and City Attorney Barbara Parker for partnering on this legislation.
What You Need to Know
- RENTERS: Until August 31, 2020 or until the Local Emergency is declared over, whichever comes first, you cannot be evicted if you live in a unit covered by Oakland’s Just Cause Ordinance. You cannot be evicted for rent that became due during the local emergency if you suffered a substantial reduction of income or increase of expenses due to COVID-19. You cannot have your rent raised beyond 3.5% (the Consumer Price Index or “CPI”) if your unit is covered by the Rent Adjustment Ordinance. You cannot be charged late fees. For more information, see our resource guide.
- SMALL BUSINESS / COMMERCIAL TENANTS: Small businesses employ the majority of Oakland’s workers. The shelter in place order has severely impacted our small business community, forcing many to close their doors permanently, while some maintain a fraction of regular operations. The original legislation ensured commercial / small business tenants with 100 employees or fewer and nonprofits could not be evicted for nonpayment of rent due to COVID through May 31, 2020. The ordinance extends the moratorium on commercial evictions and ties it to the Governor's Executive Order N-33-20 and any extension thereof. State law preempts local law on the issue of commercial evictions. For assistance, email the City’s Business Development Program at [email protected].
Rent was already unaffordable in the Bay Area before this crisis. Extending this eviction moratorium provides necessary though temporary relief. We need longer-term comprehensive legislation at the state and federal level, and we need financial institutions to step up and act now to provide rent and mortgage relief for both tenants and property owners. And, here’s why.
Oakland Kids First
On November 2020 Ballot
Last week, City Council voted unanimously to put #OaklandYouthVote on the November 2020 ballot, which if passed by voters, would allow 16 and 17 year olds to vote in school board elections!
Congratulations to all of the students, All City Council, Oakland Kids First, the Youth Vote coalition and many others who made this happen. I'm inspired by your vision to create a better future for all of us, and glad to be a co-sponsor along with Council President Kaplan, CMs Thao and Taylor.
Our young people have great power and wisdom to shape our communities! Read more here.
Declaring a Local Health Emergency
For Oakland’s Black Residents
Thanks to the organizing and advocacy of the #BlackNewDeal, City Council declared a local health emergency for Oakland’s Black residents due to the spread of COVID-19 and its devastating and disparate impacts on our Black community. COVID is also disproportionately impacting Latinxs and Pacific Islanders.
In Oakland, the zip codes with the largest Black populations have the highest number of COVID-19 cases, and African Americans are disproportionately represented among COVID-19 deaths.
Over 50 Black Oakland leaders declared The Black New Deal and many urged City Council to support it at last week’s Council meeting, resulting in this emergency declaration. Thanks to all for your critical organizing and advocacy.
When we focus on supporting our most-impacted community, we ensure that everyone can be safe and healthy. This is what equity is about -- lifting up the most vulnerable so that everyone can thrive.
With this declaration, Oakland will:
- conduct a race and equity based plan to address COVID-19 impacts,
- request that Alameda County disaggregate data and partner with Oakland on additional testing sites in impacted zip codes and on developing a community contact tracing training and employment program.
Also last week, the Alameda County Public Health Department released a COVID-19 equity brief and infographic, which include disparities data and strategies to promote the health, social, economic and environmental conditions necessary for pandemic resilience and recovery. Find the department’s regular COVID-19 updates here.
Moving into Phase 2, Relief Funds & More
Phase 2 Transition: This week, the Alameda County Public Health Officer issued an updated Shelter-in-Place Order that allows certain businesses to resume operations under specific conditions. The measured steps towards re-opening are designed to avoid a spike in new COVID-19 cases that could overwhelm our healthcare system. Effective immediately, the businesses allowed to operate include:
- Retail stores for curbside or storefront pickup, and/or delivery only
- Manufacturing businesses permitted to operate under the state Resilience Roadmap
- Logistics and warehousing permitted to operate under the state Resilience Roadmap
Learn more about what Oakland is doing to support these new orders.
Applications Now Open for Disaster Relief Assistance for Immigrants: Our undocumented and mixed status households are a critical part of our communities, workforce, and cultures, yet left out of COVID-19 federal aid due to their immigration status. California is providing state-funded disaster relief assistance to undocumented adults. You can receive $500 in direct assistance, with a maximum of $1000 in assistance per household. To apply, visit Catholic Charities East Bay's website or call (866) 490-3899.
New Relief Fund for Artists: The Kenneth Rainin Foundation, with the City and other partners, has launched a relief fund for artists and culture workers living in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties with at least $300,000 dedicated to Oaklanders. The East Bay / Oakland Relief Fund will make grants directly to artists, teaching artists, culture bearers, and nonprofit arts workers from historically underserved communities. Individuals may apply once for up to $2,000. Funds are unrestricted and can be used in any way that alleviates financial hardship.
Message From Oakland Animal Services on Temporary Closure of Morcom Rose Garden to Protect Wild Turkeys: As has been seen across the globe, the retreat of humans as they shelter in place has led to an increase in the visibility of wildlife in urban areas. The City of Oakland respects the rights of wild animals to inhabit their natural homes and encourages all Oaklanders to support the right of our wild residents to remain wild. Oakland’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Youth Development has temporarily closed the Morcom Rose Garden to provide some time and space to work to prevent human – wildlife conflicts and to work with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife for guidance and support. Following the State’s Keep Me Wild campaign, the City is asking people to please stay out of the park, to respect the prohibition against walking dogs in the park, and to never feed wildlife of any type. More from Oakland Animal Services here.
District 2 Community Heroes
Spotlight on Harbor House
We want to shout out and appreciate Harbor House Ministries, a nonprofit community development organization serving families in San Antonio in District 2!
Harbor House serves families through programs that support residents' heart, soul, mind and body, such as tutoring and enrichment, leadership development, spiritual formation, food and clothing distribution, and English classes.
During COVID-19, Harbor House has been providing around-the-clock support to our community through:
- Grab-and-go food bags every Tuesday and Thursday AM with a 300% increase in family utilization
- Educational support to children who typically participate in their after-school program, including Chromebook distribution, 1:1 virtual tutoring, book lending, and care packages with school and arts/crafts supplies
- Continuing to develop and stipend high school youth leaders, who are mentoring and checking in on younger students virtually
- Launching a Relief Fund to provide emergency funds to families who need assistance with rent, utilities, and medical bills
City Council Meeting
What’s On the Agenda?
On Tuesday, May 26th at 1:30 pm, our City Council meeting will include the following important agenda items, among others:
1. Mid-Cycle Budget
Oakland, like cities across the globe, faces an unprecedented health crisis coupled with an economic recession. City Council will consider amendments to our two-year budget for FY 19-21, proposed by the Mayor and City Administrator, to address a $122 million shortfall and balance the budget. As I have said in past Council discussions about the budget, we must value: equity, transparency, and partnership with our labor unions who represent the very workers who deliver city services.
There are difficult decisions ahead as we work to approve a balanced budget by June 30. These include: minimizing service cuts and continuing to address our top priorities of homelessness and housing. With millions in additional revenue from ballot measures to address homelessness, we must ensure these funds support housing unsheltered residents during the current pandemic.
2. Department of Workplace & Employment Standards
I am supporting the establishment of the new Department of Workplace and Employment Standards, which was approved by 76% of voters with the passage of Measure Z in 2018. According to the measure, the department must be established by July 1, 2020.
The COVID-19 pandemic has reminded us of the important role that frontline, essential service workers play in ensuring we can access the goods and services we need. These workers, which include delivery workers, grocery clerks, restaurant & hospitality workers, ride-share drivers, janitors, warehouse workers, and security officers are the backbone of our economy.
We must protect and support these workers in order to maintain ongoing services, stop the pandemic, and safeguard the health and well-being of everyone in our community.
An effective Department of Workplace and Employment Standards will ensure the city is focused and engaged in supporting these workers and implementing existing labor protections.