I’m grateful for the many ways City Council, our District 2 neighbors, youth, community leaders, and organizers across Oakland have been working to cultivate relationships of care, love, and healing.
In this newsletter, you’ll find some of the reasons why I’m inspired and information on:
- Recent policy wins to protect small businesses, tenants and workers
- Preview of Tuesday’s Council meeting, including more on reimagining public safety
- Solidarity in standing up for Black Lives in the Grand Lake neighborhood
- Call to action supporting Oakland youth & families
- COVID-19 and City updates, including County reopening information
Council Meeting Recap
Wins for Small Biz, Tenants & Workers
I’m really grateful to share that at last week’s City Council meeting, with your support, we were able to achieve protections for our small businesses, renters, and travel and hospitality workers:
1. Council unanimously passed our Equitable & Progressive Business Tax Legislation
The goals we set when we began working on this legislation were to create a progressive business tax, raise revenue to improve city services, and support small businesses. We created a framework for doing that and Council voted to place the measure on the 2022 ballot! Now, we will work with our business community — from small to large — and other stakeholders to ensure that we provide relief to our small businesses and work towards a just recovery and vibrant local economy. By moving this measure forward with a Blue Ribbon Commission to study and recommend the updated tax rates to City Council, we will together craft policy that is thoughtful and responsive to our business community’s needs and meets the original implementation deadline of 2023. Thank you to the Lift Up Oakland coalition of community organizations, labor unions and businesses who came together to support this measure and CMs Thao, Kalb and Kaplan for co-sponsoring with me. See coverage from San Francisco Business Journal.
2. Council passed stronger tenant protections such as limiting late fees and closing loopholes that prevent evictions.
During the challenges of recent months and prior to COVID, we’ve heard from tenants facing harassment such as utility shut-offs, threats by landlords to report immigration status, and violations of privacy inside their homes. Expanded tenant protections will limit this harassment to prevent evictions, as well as limit rent increases and late fees. Thank you to City Attorney Barbara Parker and CM Dan Kalb for co-sponsoring this legislation with me. It will have its second and final reading on Tuesday, July 21. See coverage from the East Bay Times.
3. Council passed the “Right to Recall” ordinance supporting travel and hospitality workers to return to their jobs and companies prior to COVID-19.
This legislation will help ensure that workers laid off during the pandemic will have the opportunity to get their jobs back before companies start to hire new employees. Thank you to CM Thao for her leadership, East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy, UNITE HERE! Local 2850 and many others for your tremendous work to protect our essential workers and to Councilmembers Kalb and Gallo for co-sponsoring. It will have its second and final reading on Tuesday, July 21. See coverage from the East Bay Times.
Council Meeting Preview
Eviction Moratorium, Police Commission, Task Force to Reimagine Public Safety, Budget Amendments
At Tuesday’s, July 21st 1:30pm Council meeting, please consider sharing e-comments and / or public comments on these important agenda items. This meeting will include key discussions about public safety and our City budget.
- Item 2.2 Emergency Eviction Moratorium Extension. I’ve introduced this legislation with CM Dan Kalb and City Attorney Barbara Parker to extend Oakland’s residential eviction moratorium from August 31, 2020 to the end of the local emergency. Other jurisdictions like Berkely have tied their moratoriums to their local emergencies in order to allow residents to shelter in place and prevent homelessness. In addition, Oakland has allocated $5M in COVID relief funds for residential rent and mortgage relief.
- Item 7. Ballot Measure Amending Powers of the Police Commission. Council will consider placing a measure on the November ballot to strengthen the independence of the Police Commission.
- Item 15 Reimagining Public Safety Task Force. CM Loren Taylor and I are introducing a resolution to create a Task Force to Reimagine Public Safety, as the Council has directed. With robust and meaningful community engagement, the goals of the Task Force are to increase community safety through alternative responses to calls for assistance and a 50% reduction in OPD’s general purpose fund budget. I am looking forward to co-leading this effort with all of you to deepen our investment in community programs and services that address the root causes of violence and crime including mental & physical health services, youth programs, affordable and stable housing, high quality jobs and more; and provide appropriate, trained, trauma-informed responses to violence, mental health, homelessness, neighborhood disturbances, traffic safety and other issues. I’m heartened that the calls from the community are being heard and that the City Council and other officials are coming together to reimagine and reconstruct our public safety system to better serve our entire community.
- Item 16 FY 2020-2021 Budget Amendments. Council President Kaplan and I are proposing additional amendments to the current budget that shift resources from traditional policing to community needs and help set up the transition to alternative responses to 911 and other calls for assistance. The proposal reduces police involvement in mental health, special events, City Hall events/demonstrations, bicycle & pedestrian arrests, and civilianizes communications, complaints and special events permitting. Deeper investments in community include piloting a civilian mental health assistance hotline similar to one in Sacramento County; expanding violence prevention and youth programs at school sites; expanding support for CSEC (commercially sexually exploited children) and adults involved in human trafficking; and partnering with community organizations to provide safety ambassadors who are trusted and trained to assist with public education, service requests, conflict resolution and event support in neighborhoods and commercial corridors.
Black Lives Matter
Stand Together to Condemn Hate
This -- and several other incidents of alleged hate crimes in the area, across Oakland, and beyond in recent months -- are absolutely unacceptable. We must continue to stand together to condemn hatred, racism, xenophobia, transphobia, anti-blackness and much more.
As the movement for Black Lives grows stronger and reaches the consciousness of more community members, so too does opposition and white supremacy. While #BlackLivesMatter hashtags may no longer be trending, I hope we all stay vigilant and rooted in community care, love & action for a just future.
Thank you to the many neighbors who quickly responded by organizing a clean-up of the area and to Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church and Lakeshore Business Improvement District for organizing a physically distanced gathering to reclaim and celebrate the memorial on Mandana Green.
Support Youth Organized Bike Drive
Help Meet Amalia's 100 Bike Goal
Amalia, an 8th grader at Edna Brewer Middle School, is organizing a bike donation drive after learning about Oakland's Slow Streets program designed to make streets available for recreation and exercise & decrease overcrowding in parks.
So far, she's collected around 25 bikes -- help her get to her goal of 100! The sizes needed most are 24” and 26” wheels. Any bike above 16” is great. Contact [email protected] to donate and safe arrange pick-up.
Amalia says, "Slow Streets creates an amazing environment for kids to bike. Many people in our communities have access to bikes but many do not. If more kids have access to bikes it gives them more independence, promotes exercise and gets more people using the Slow Streets. This is why I am doing a bike drive in support of Cycles of Change, an Oakland organization that collects bikes and uses them to teach East Bay kids how to bike through schools. Cycles of Change mostly focuses on teaching middle schoolers and high schoolers how to bike.
During shelter-in-place some people are getting new bikes and trying to find out what to do with their old ones. Keeping extra bikes in storage is frustrating. Bikes take up a lot of space and are hard to get rid of. There are many kids out there who would love to ride your older bikes. If you have bikes that are not being used please donate them. Just contact us and we can come and pick them up. Also please forward this message to friends! The more bikes we collect the more kids can learn how to bike."
COVID-19 & City Updates
County Reopening Status, Lake Merritt, ECAP 2030 & More
Alameda County Reopening Status: Alameda County has been approved by the State to become a variance county, meaning outdoor dining can resume and the Oakland Zoo can open for outdoor activities with appropriate safety measures. In addition, Alameda County is currently on the State’s County Monitoring List, which means we are subject to restrictions according to State Health Officer Orders issued on July 13th. The State requires that as of Wednesday, July 15: places of worship can hold outdoor services only and indoor malls will be required to close. See more here. Also see a District 2 summary here and County updates here.
Lake Merritt Safety Updates: The City is continuing measures to support residents’ safety at Lake Merritt while encouraging folks to take advantage of parks throughout Oakland and Slow Streets for outdoor recreation. The City is also working to address traffic and parking congestion at the Lake, including weekend street and parking closures. Learn more details here and #GiveTheLakeABreak.
Oakland’s 2030 Equitable Climate Action Plan / ECAP: The ECAP is intended to respond to the climate change crisis with a strategy built on justice, equal opportunity and environmental protection, and to help transition our city to a low carbon future that creates green jobs, improves health, mobilizes our resources, and addresses the inequalities that climate change has only worsened. Read and comment on the final copy here. It is scheduled to be heard at the Public Works Committee meeting on Monday, July 20 and full City Council on Tuesday, July 28. Thank you to the incredible team spanning City staff, grassroots organizations, and Oakland community members, and the insights from thousands of Oaklanders that have helped shape the ECAP.
Oakland Public Library: Oakland Public Library has been readjusting & reopening to serve our community. In addition to online children’s story times and book clubs, our libraries are being used as sites to distribute meals, serve as call centers for COVID-19 testing to help the public sign up for tests, and help you check out books. When books are returned, they are all quarantined for 72 hours. People are not allowed inside library buildings & all operations are physically distanced with proper mask protocol. Learn more from this great SF Gate article.