Councilmember Newsletter: March 11, 2019


Dear {{recipient.first_name_or_friend}},

My heart is heavy as we grieve with our dear Councilmember Lynette Gibson McElhaney following the devastating loss of her son Victor in a tragic act of violence. I am grateful for her leadership in the City on violence prevention. She also championed #LoveLife as our City’s motto -- a declaration against violence and for love and respect. My family and I send love and condolences to her, her family, and friends.

On the heels of International Womxn's Day, my (all-female) staff and I are appreciating mothers and others during Women's History Month. It has been just over two months in office, and we are so grateful for your contributions to Oakland.

Together, we are building people-powered government where I make decisions with you -- not for you -- to create an equitable city, an Oakland for all of us.

  • Until last weekend, very few Oaklanders knew about plans to renovate the old Kaiser Convention Center. To increase community engagement in the project, I co-hosted a community forum attended by over 150 neighbors and community organizations. We learned about the project from the developer, and shared feedback and questions which we summarized in this document. While there was a positive response to the proposal’s focus on arts and nonprofit organizations, there was also healthy skepticism about detailed plans for access, affordability, cultural equity, good local jobs, and public participation. My team and I will work with Orton Development and the City to obtain and share answers and keep building community engagement -- stay tuned and learn more below.

  • Many neighbors are weighing in on the Parkway Theater proposal to become a cannabis dispensary and movie theatre / lounge space with on-site cannabis consumption. When my office learned that the City hearing for the on-site consumption permit would be Monday, March 4 at 3pm -- during the work day -- we engaged neighbors on social media and conducted an online survey. Over 100 people shared their opinions, and we shared the results with the City Administrator for the public record. While responses leaned positive, I take very seriously the concerns about equity and inclusion in the project leadership and hiring; displacement and gentrification; and cannabis versus family-friendly use of the site. We will keep you updated on the City's process and next steps, including an anticipated decision on the permit within 30 days of March 4.

  • During the seven-day teachers’ strike, I was inspired by our educators, nurses, counselors and support staff who walked picket lines all day and stood strong to win living wages and student supports. I was also inspired by parents, students, and community members who supported our teachers and students with solidarity schools, food and plenty of energy. OUSD’s $20 million budget reductions are incredibly difficult. More than ever, we must re-commit ourselves to addressing the systemic divestment in our public schools. I’m sponsoring a City Council resolution to support reform of Prop 13, which would raise millions for public schools across the state. I’m also supporting collaboration between the City and school district to maximize our resources and assets for our students. City Council will be voting on allocating funds to the school district from our soda tax, as well as funds to transport our kids to school. I’ve met with student leaders, who have been organizing to maintain critical programs like restorative justice, foster youth case managers and Asian & Pacific Islander student outreach and programs. Our Education Partnership committee which will meet on April 1, 5:30pm at City Hall will begin to build a partnership between City Council and the School Board to invest in our students and public schools.

  • One of the more controversial decisions of the prior City Council was the certification of the passage of Measure AA, an education parcel tax which fell short of the two-thirds vote that the official Voter Guide said it needed to win. In December, the old Council certified Measure AA as passing, citing a legal opinion that a super-majority was sufficient. Since then, the League of Women Voters has urged Council to nullify the certification saying it “changed the rules after the game had been played,” and property owners have sued the City. The courts will determine whether 50% + 1 was sufficient for Measure AA’s passage. In closed session on February 26, I voted against authorizing the City to collect Measure AA taxes this coming year while the legal issues are being resolved. My vote was not about the measure itself, but about restoring trust with voters in our democratic process. I weighed the many sides of the issue, including the urgent need for education funding for programs such as head start, and frustration from constituents and community organizations who feel the past Council betrayed their trust in our democratic process. Based on my values of democratic participation, I made a very hard decision to not collect the taxes this coming year. As the Mayor and Council develop our next budget, one of my priorities is investing in our students and public schools.
  • Finally, in my day-to-day work reviewing reports and considering policy changes, I am grounding myself in our shared values of equity, transparency & accountability. That means requiring information on equity in City Staff's delivery of reports, such as information on who our housing and homelessness programs serve; and demanding accountability in excessive police overtime spending. Read more below.

Thank you for being a part of all these issues in our city. Your participation is critical in helping our government meet the needs of all Oaklanders.

Please share your feedback on this newsletter, as well as future opportunities you'd like to share with our neighbors. 

With Oakland Love,


Nikki Fortunato Bas
Councilmember, City of Oakland, District 2


P.S. At my monthly office hours at the Grand Lake Farmer's Market this past Saturday, I had the chance to meet many residents and talk about topics such as Oakland's homelessness crisis, mental health, resources for public art, and more. Reach out to reserve a future 20-minute office hours appointment. 

P.P.S. I had a great weekend of community service -- from helping a constituent collect signatures for a petition for a speed bump around Franklin Elementary to joining a youth-powered team of volunteers to pick up litter in Chinatown. Students from Cleveland Elementary Safety Patrol, Oakland High, Oakland Tech, Asian Youth Service Committee and other groups meet monthly with OCA East Bay for this Chinatown PickItUp event. RSVP for the next one!

RECAP: Community Feedback on Kaiser Convention Center Redevelopment 

On Saturday, March 2, more than 150 community members joined my office and Laney College Facilities Planning Committee to hear about Orton Development's proposal to redevelop the historic Kaiser Convention Center into a performing arts venue and space for nonprofit and arts organizations.

We invited community groups like Eastlake United for Justice, Oakland Chinatown Coalition, Black Arts Movement Business District (the organizers of Bambdfest:2019), Eastside Arts Alliance, Oakland Ballet, and IATSE Local 107 (Stagehands Union) to share their responses, needs, and hopes for the project.

Community members had many questions for the development team — from questions on design and function to those focused on timeline, costs / affordability, cultural equity, good jobs & local hire, community engagement, and impact on the surrounding areas, institutions, residents, unsheltered neighbors and more.

We created this summary of the community's
comments and questions raised at the forum.

Councilmember Bas is sharing this feedback with the developer, the City’s Economic & Workforce Development Department, City Council, the Oakland Planning Commission, and the public. Please help share the summary with more neighbors. We are committed to working with Orton and the City to obtain and share answers to the questions raised, as well as to maximize community engagement in this project so it yields the highest public benefit. 

The project is on the Planning Commission agenda for March 20.

If you haven't already shared your opinion on the project, please do so here. Thank you for continuing to voice your perspectives on projects like this one, the Parkway Theater proposal, and Downtown Oakland Specific Plan. 

Expecting greater equity, transparency and accountability from our City government.

[1] Last year, the City of Oakland produced its first Equity Indicators Report to better understand the impacts of race and measure inequities. We received 33 out of 100 points, or an F grade, overall. Our lowest scores were on homelessness, police use of force, pedestrian safety and school suspensions. 

At the last City Council meeting on February 26, we received an annual report on various programs for housing and homelessness. I requested that this report include racial demographic data for persons served. City Staff provided this information, which showed that the majority of persons served were Black or African American.

It is affirming to see data that shows the City's efforts and investments are reaching populations most impacted by our housing and homelessness crisis. There is still much work ahead and we must continue to ground our approach to solutions in ways that address present and historical inequities. 

[2] At the February 26 Council meeting, we received a quarterly report on police overtime which was $18.7 million at the end of the second quarter of the fiscal year. This amount is well over the budgeted total of $12.3 million for the entire year. 

I've talked with many Oaklanders like you who want more transparency and accountability in our budget, especially around police overtime which is over-budget year after year. 

We know the police use overtime to backfill for vacant positions, but I believe OPD can better manage its use of overtime. To improve accountability, I requested that OPD provide additional information for the Public Safety Committee to review on April 9. 

Council and the public need to know the answers to questions such as: How much of the overtime was approved in advance? What portion of overtime was related to crime - responding to, solving or preventing crime? How much of our overtime for special events was reimbursed; and if this takes officers away from crime prevention, can we staff these events another way?

With more transparent information, our tax dollars can be used with more accountability focusing our police resources on preventing, solving and responding to crime. 

Make your voice heard on upcoming
decisions + projects that impact our communities. 

Apply to join the Neighborhood Leadership Cohort with the Oakland Climate Action Coalition. As part of the community engagement process of Oakland's Environmental Services Division's development of the 2030 Energy and Climate Action Plan (ECAP), the Oakland Climate Action Coalition is creating a Neighborhood Leadership Cohort -- a group of 14 resident community leaders, two from each District, to be trained in climate science, City policy and planning processes, and leadership skills. 

NLC members will facilitate community workshops with OCAC and craft equity targets that will be recommended for inclusion in the 2030 ECAP. NLC members will be compensated for their time spent leading workshops and completing training.

Although the application deadline was March 10, applications will continue to be considered until all NLC positions have been filled.


Weigh in on Oakland's 2019 Three-Year Road Paving Plan. Oakland's Department of Transportation plans to bring its next paving plan to Council this April. Over the next month, join a number of community presentations to share insight into the proposed plan and find out about the proposed list of streets for the next paving plan. The following meetings will present paving information relevant to District 2 residents:

Redwood Heights Town Hall
(Trestle Glen/Glenview)

March 13, 2019 at 6:00PM
Redwood Heights Recreation Center 3833 Aliso Ave. 

Bella Vista NCPC (Eastlake, San Antonio)
March 13, 2019 at 7:15PM
Bella Vista Elementary School
Auditorium, 1025 E 28th St. 

Chinatown NCPC 
March 20, 2019 at 4:00PM
Hotel Oakland, 270 13th Street 

Golden Gate NCPC (Adams Point)
March 20, 2019 at 6:30PM
Charles Porter Golden Gate Recreation Center, 1075 62nd St. 

Fruitvale Unity (Eastlake, San Antonio)
March 20, 2019 at 6:30PM 
Fruitvale San Antonio Senior Center
3301 E 12th St. #201

Mark your calendars for these
future Council meetings.

City Council. Today's March 12 City Council meeting is cancelled. Stay tuned for the new date. Items of interest include: Informational Report on Homelessness Solutions and a resolution allocating funding to OUSD transportation costs.

Council Committee Meetings on March 19. There are a number of important reports coming to our committees:

Finance, 9:30am. We will receive an annual report from the Measure KK oversight committee on the affordable housing and infrastructure bond.

Community & Economic Development, 1:30pm. We will receive an annual report on the Rental Adjustment Program.

Public Safety, 6pm. We will receive a quarterly report from the Police Commission and an annual Measure Z evaluation report on community policing neighborhood services.

Education Partnership. The first meeting of the year of the Education Partnership between the City Council and Oakland Unified School District Board of Directors is Monday, April 1,
5:30pm at City Hall.

As co-chair of this committee with School Board President Aimee Eng, I look forward to working collaboratively with the District to maximize our resources and assets to support our students and our public school system. 


Community Resources + Opportunities 

Report issues or services needed using OAK 311. 311 is an easy-to-remember telephone number that connects you with highly trained City of Oakland Call Center representatives ready to help you with requests for non-emergency City services and information. You can also report issues online or on the OAK 311 mobile phone app.

Free Weekly Community Breakfast on Sundays. Join Word Assembly - The Palace church for free community breakfast every Sunday from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. at 1445 23rd Avenue.

Spring Break Camps. From Monday March 25 to Friday March 30, Oakland, Parks, Recreation and Youth Development (OPRYD) is offering Spring Break Camps at the following locations. Please contact individual recreation centers for more information. 

Bushrod (510) 597-5031
Dimond (510) 482-7831
Franklin (510) 238-7741
Manzanita (510) 535-5625
Montclair (510) 482-7812
Studio One Art Center (510) 597-5027
Rainbow (510) 615-5751

Neighborhood Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) Meetings. Get involved with your local NCPC to help make our communities safe and connected. 

Bella Vista NCPC
Wednesday, March 13, 2019
7:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
Bella Vista Elementary School
1025 E. 28th St.

San Antonio NCPC
Wednesday, March 13, 2019
6:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Word Assembly Church
1445 23rd Ave. NOTE: Nikki will attend and speak at this meeting. 

Chinatown NCPC
Wednesday, March 20, 2019
Starts at 4:00 p.m.
270 13th St. (Hotel Oakland)

Grandlake NCPC 
Wednesday, March 20, 2019
7:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
Lakeshore Ave. Baptist Church
3534 Lakeshore Ave.

Green New Deal Create-a-thon. Join this weekend-long event where writers, artists, videographers, developers, musicians and other creatives come together with policy experts and political strategists to prototype new collaborative projects around a focused goal. Councilmember Bas is part of the opening welcome  on Friday. 

March 15 - March 17, 2019
Friday 6pm: Kick-off, project pitches, team forming
Saturday 9am: Teams do project work all day
Sunday 9am: Project work until presentations at 2pm

Economic Development Strategy Year 1 Progress Report. On Tuesday, March 5, the City's Economic & Workforce Development staff presented the Economic Development Strategy 2018-2020 Year 1 Progress Report to the City Council's Community & Economic Development Committee.

This report shares baseline numeric achievements through a series of infographics with a narrative section that describes the partnerships and projects that helped grow Oakland’s economy. As background, in November 2017, the City Council adopted the Economic Development Strategy 2018-2020 with connected goals to increase both the overall productivity of the city’s economy and the wealth and economic security of Oakland’s lowest income households, as well as reduce racial disparities. 

New Resource for Female Entrepreneurs of Color to Open in East Oakland. Mills College’s Center for Transformative Action will host a ribbon cutting ceremony and public open house on March 22 to mark the opening of the new Women’s Social Entrepreneurship Center. The Center will foster transformative social change by providing a safe space, tools, and a community for self-identified women and non-binary individuals of color who wish to launch and grow their social entrepreneurship ventures. The free events run from 11 am to 5 pm.  

Landlord 101 Seminar on Owner Occupied Duplexes and Triplexes. The City's Rent Adjustment Program is hosting a training for owners of owner-occupied duplexes and triplexes on the basics of landlord and tenant law in Oakland. 

Tuesday, March 26, 2019
5:30 - 7:00 p.m.
250 Frank Ogawa Plaza
6th Floor, Suite 6301
Byrd Conference Room
Questions? Contact 510-238-3721 

Oakland Chinatown First Wednesdays. Enjoy family friendly activities and a resource fair each month from 12:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. on the corner of 8th and Jackson Streets in Madison Park. 

First Wednesdays are hosted by Friends of Madison Park, including Friends of Lincoln Square, Asian Health Services, APEN, AYPAL, API Legal Outreach, and OACC. The next three dates are below:

April 3, 2019
May 1, 2019
June 5, 2019

Volunteer with the "Dedicated Deadheaders" group to beautify Oakland's Morcom Rose Garden. The Dedicated Deadheaders, a volunteer group that helps maintain the garden, invites you help with tasks including learning about the care and maintenance of roses. If you have questions, send an email to [email protected]

Oakland’s Morcom Rose Garden
700 Jean St.
Every Wednesday & 2nd Saturdays 
10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Lake Merritt Weed Warriors. Following a model used successfully at the Morcom Rose Garden, an ad hoc group of citizens have organized themselves to be trained by Public Works staff to perform assigned tasks such as mulching, weeding, deadheading flowers and general cleanup. Sign up to receive announcements of the Weed Warriors' monthly work party.   

Next Volunteer Day:
Saturday, March 30, 2019
9:00 a.m. to 12 noon
Location TBA

Apply to be a Community Navigator with the Support Awareness to Value Energy (S.A.V.E.) Program. In this role you will help promote awareness and customer education in a PG&E initiative to help sign up community members for the CARE & FERA programs, which can save low income customers up to 30% on their electric bill. Spanish, Tagalog, Cantonese, or Mandarin speakers encouraged to apply. 

Salsa by the Lake is starting up its 13th year this Sunday, March 17 from 1-4 p.m. at its usual spot by the Lake Merritt Pergola. Join this group of lovers of Cuban music and dance, who enjoy dancing outside under the sun at Lake Merritt.

Initiated in 2007 by husband and wife dancers and D2 residents, Isaac Kos-Read and Mary Massella, the group is now administered jointly with DJ-Dark Rum and Alvaro Batista of Anejo Productions.

Constituent Corner

As part of the City of Oakland's relationship with Oakland Coliseum, Councilmembers receive tickets to sporting events and concerts. We are grateful for the opportunity to give away tickets to honor community members and their service to Oakland.

Meet Rebecca Chhom, Recreation Program Director at Franklin Recreation-Center for the last 12 years: "I am a proud born and raised native of Oakland and love serving our Oakland community. I love our city's diversity and culture! I enjoy encouraging youth, teaching them, and exposing them to new activities and experiences. With my team, we provide a variety of programs, activities and events for children and youth that promote and foster youth's physical, social, mental and creative development. We partner with and support many other organizations and groups to together make a greater impact on how we serve our community."

Meet Nikita Williams, the community school manager at Garfield Elementary: "I work to support the school attendance, coordinator of services, family engagement and partnerships. I really enjoy working here in Oakland because I grew up in this community and wanted to be a leader for the kids in my community. What I love about Oakland is the diversity."

In the News

  • KQED Arts // Arts-Centered Plan for Kaiser Auditorium Draws Both Praise and Doubt in Oakland
  • SF Chronicle // What you need to know about Oakland teachers' new contract
  • SF Chronicle // Oakland teachers strike ends with union members ratifying deal
  • East Bay Express // Can the state help Oakland's cannabis equity program?
  • Oakland Police Department // City of Oakland Releases First Set of Documents in Officer-Involved Shooting of Joshua Pawlik
  • Oakland News Now // City Of Oakland Extends Labor Contracts for Two Employee Bargaining Groups
  • KTVU // Making history: Oakland high, Oakland tech girls both win their CIF state hoops championship
  • The Mercury News // Insider's Guide to Oakland's Chinatown

Connect with Team D2!

D2 Office: (510) 238-7002
Email us at [email protected]

Miya Saika Chen
Chief of Staff
[email protected]
(510) 238-7246

Lia Azul Salaverry
Policy Analyst, Community Liaison
[email protected]
(510) 238-7023

Linna Lin
Chinatown Liaison and Aide
[email protected]
(510) 238-7022

Tiffany Kang
Communications Specialist
Community Liaison
[email protected]
(510) 238-7022

Pamela Drake
Community Liaison
[email protected]
(510) 238-7022