An Oakland for All of Us
Oaklanders across the City agree: we love our community, diversity, and rich cultural heritage. Development is booming, and our City’s thriving arts scene, great food, and natural beauty have made it a world-class destination. But there are downsides to this rapid change.
Oakland faces an unprecedented housing crisis; long-term residents have been pushed out of their homes, with far too many landing on the streets. In the midst of riches, our resources are mismanaged. We under-invest in our youth, small businesses, and quality jobs. This public crisis is creating real tension between old residents and new, dividing residents across racial lines. Because City Hall has failed to take action, Oakland may lose its heart and soul forever.
It’s time for Oaklanders to come together to face this crisis. Black, white, brown, and API neighbors must join forces and work to create a just and equitable city. Together, let's ensure everyone – particularly Oakland's working class and communities of color – has access to a decent place to live, quality education, a good job, and can share in the culture we all love. Let’s rebuild Oakland as a community where we have each others’ backs.
Oakland deserves better. District 2 deserves better. We need independent, progressive leadership that will stand up for our working families; our youth and seniors; our communities of color; our immigrants and refugees; our LGBTQ community; and our small business owners, artists, and performers.
District 2 needs a leader who will prioritize the well-being of all residents with equity and compassion, a leader who is not beholden to millionnaire outsiders and corporate developers that seek to profit without contributing their fair share so that all can thrive.
As your District 2 Councilmember, I will:
- Prioritize housing for all Oaklanders
- Establish a community approach to policing and safety
- Tackle illegal dumping and other threats to quality of life
- Promote a values-based City budget & thriving economy
- Preserve our cultural heritage
- Protect our environment and our residents’ health
Partnering with constituents like you, I will bring people together to create comprehensive solutions to root problems so that we can be an Oakland for all of us.
Between April and June, my campaign knocked on thousands of doors asking District 2 neighbors about their concerns and their vision for Oakland. This platform is the product of hundreds of conversations in people’s homes, in our neighborhoods, at farmers markets and City events, and with organizations that serve our communities every day. I look forward to working on these issues with you to advance our vision for Oakland.
Oakland’s housing crisis is out of control and we need experienced, compassionate leadership that recognizes housing is a human right. The need to improve and increase affordable housing and provide options for the growing homeless population requires a champion who can bring residents, developers, and housing advocates together—and collaborate with the county and state—for win-win solutions.
- Strengthen and enforce tenant protections to put a stop to unjust evictions and illegal rent hikes.
- Support the state Affordable Housing Act to repeal Costa-Hawkins, allowing Oakland and other California cities the flexibility to create smart renter protections that work for us.
- Ensure our public lands are used for public good by supporting a public lands policy that prioritizes affordable housing and permanent supportive housing projects, and designating city-owned parcels for sanctioned camps that move homeless neighbors off dangerous streets.
- Increase resources to provide our homeless neighbors with rapid measures that move people into stable temporary housing while we work toward permanent housing solutions, as well as provide increased health services and sanitation to our homeless community.
- Bring developers, community members, labor leaders, and other stakeholders to the table to negotiate community benefits for any development deals.
- Ensure that development “Impact Fees” which are meant to generate funds for affordable housing adequately serve our communities by updating the existing rules to make sure they are properly and equitably utilized.
- Preserve existing affordable housing by updating policies on condo conversions and single room occupancy buildings (SROs) and adopting a policy on short-term rentals.
- Advance longer-term housing policies that support ownership, including community land trusts, tenant ownership, and low-interest loans for repairs and maintenance.
For more, see my opinion-editorial in the East Bay Express, Prioritizing People in Our Housing Policies, October 18, 2018.
I'm proud to have the sole endorsement of the East Bay Express who said: "We think the former nonprofit leader is one of the smartest and impressive council candidates in this election. We also think she'll be stronger than [the incumbent] in pushing for tenant protections and tougher rent control in Oakland if Proposition 10 passes and will be a powerful advocate for affordable housing."
Oakland needs neighborhoods and commercial districts where everyone feels safe and enjoys a sense of belonging. This can only be achieved when we take a holistic approach to safety. First, we must increase resources to support education, employment, and public health services to address the root causes of crime. And second, we must shift the culture of policing so all residents feel that officers are working with the community, not against it. District 2 problems such as illegal dumping, theft, car break-ins, sex trafficking, and other crimes need a better approach than business as usual. Oakland Police Department (OPD) must serve with the highest community standards, end the targeting of people of color, and "bad cops" must be appropriately disciplined or removed.
- Take a different approach to crime and policing, one that incorporates restorative justice, conflict de-escalation training for police officers, and disrupts the school-to-prison pipeline through programs that keep youth in school and on paths to employment and higher education.
- Strengthen Oakland’s protections for vulnerable communities, safeguard our status as a Sanctuary City, and stand up to the inhumane and unjust practices of the Trump administration.
- Prioritize public safety by increasing police response times while rebuilding community trust with OPD.
- Ensure that the voter-approved, community-led Oakland Police Commission is fully staffed and resourced to hold OPD accountable and do what voters have mandated without interference.
- Support an independent, thorough cost-saving audit of OPD spending to ensure our resources are most effectively utilized.
District 2 residents deserve equitable and effective City services that address the needs of all neighbors and improve our quality of life. For too long the City has failed to deliver essential City services to address illegal dumping, hazards on streets and sidewalks, and unsafe conditions with unmaintained City trees. The needs of District 2 are as diverse as the neighbors residing here, and the solutions should be equally creative and diverse. No more can the City hide behind poorly crafted budgets and poorly designed programs.
- Prioritize funding for essential City services that address the needs of District 2 residents from the flatlands to the hills.
- Stop illegal dumping in its tracks by increasing ways for residents to dispose of waste (especially bulky waste), preventing known hot spots from piling up, and providing education and resources about City waste and recycling services.
- Maintain the beauty, accessibility, and safety of City parks and ensure that all residents can recreate without worrying about litter, lighting, or other quality of life issues.
- Increase City resources to respond to the requests of residents in a timely manner, with built-in tracking and accountability.
- Take District 2 resident feedback seriously and take a proactive approach to addressing quality of life issues.
Oakland and District 2 are experiencing explosive growth. We must take a balanced approach to accommodate new businesses and new opportunities while protecting long-standing businesses, cultural institutions, and residents who should benefit from this growth and the jobs it brings. Employers in the City of Oakland must be responsible for ensuring fair pay and treatment of workers, and the City must enforce existing protections for people who work here.
- Support a community-based budget and budget process that includes input from residents and stakeholders to ensure that the City budget reflects the values and needs of all of District 2 and Oakland.
- Attract businesses to Oakland that provide quality jobs and benefits while providing the services and products that residents need and want.
- Ensure all businesses pay their fair share for infrastructure to preserve Oakland’s quality of life for old and new residents.
- Increase enforcement of Oakland’s worker protection laws and ensure that businesses are responsible neighbors.
- Reduce barriers to employment for Oakland residents and build a future for Oakland residents and businesses by ensuring a fair chance at employment and housing for formerly incarcerated neighbors, investing in youth employment programs, and supporting English language programs for immigrants and refugees.
- Champion Oakland’s small businesses that have served as beloved and iconic institutions for decades. Confront unfair practices head-on by creating commercial vacancy fees that will improve rental stability for Oakland businesses and by improving services for immigrant and refugee-owned businesses.
- Keep the As in Oakland, ensuring that the Coliseum project includes meaningful community benefits that serve existing residents and workers.
- Support the creation of a public bank for Oakland that would invest in the community.
Oakland and District 2 have a deep history of culture and the arts that reflects the great diversity of our City. As our City grows, we must ensure that our culture is not erased and that we preserve and grow our local art scene, artists, and cultural workers. From Chinatown to Grand Lake to San Antonio to Trestle Glen, District 2’s heritage, landmarks, cultural practice and performance spaces, and murals should be cherished and expanded. Through spaces of art and culture, we create bonds between neighbors that contribute to community safety and well-being.
- Work with community-based groups, residents, artists, and performers to preserve local culture through education and outreach to create broader community involvement.
- Support growing community interest in festivals, gatherings, and more cultural spaces.
- Find creative funding opportunities and resources for District 2’s long-standing and emerging cultural treasures, institutions, and artists.
- Ensure that development agreements and policies help increase investment in arts and culture.
Check out our mural at East 12th Street & 13th Avenue: Community Members Gather to Paint Mural Near Homeless Camp in Oakland, NBC Bay Area, October 13, 2018 and see photos here.
Oakland and the Bay Area are at the forefront of creating solutions to address the challenges we face with climate change. With more than 140 parks and 2,500 acres of open space, Oakland’s natural beauty must be cared for and maintained. Oakland must address the health concerns arising from expansion, industry, and business that operate in and near our communities.
- Keep our open spaces beautiful and available for generations to come by ensuring robust maintenance programs that keep trails open and parks well-maintained.
- Prioritize investments in key parks and open space to ensure equitable use in all our neighborhoods, and make sure that existing investments are implemented.
- Ensure that District 2 and all Oakland residents are protected from pollution-related health risks by pushing for stricter environmental and anti-displacement protections for residents and families living near industry. Support Oakland’s ban on coal storage and handling, a critical issue facing Oakland.
- Ensure that health concerns with existing and new developments are adequately mitigated through tough guidelines and robust community benefits agreements.
- Keep Oakland on the cutting-edge of new innovations that will help battle the effects of climate change, reduce Oakland’s carbon output, and create jobs in the low-carbon and clean energy economy.
See my video, A Greener Oakland, with my long-time friend, author and nationally-acclaimed climate justice activist Rebecca Solnit.