As we emerge from this pandemic and enter a new phase of rebuilding our lives and communities together, I hope you’re taking care and staying healthy and safe. I also want to welcome May as Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month.
On Monday, Council will consider a resolution authored by Councilmember Carroll Fife, chair of the Public Safety Committee, and co-sponsored by me, to prioritize a subset of recommendations from the Reimagining Public Safety Task Force to transform our safety system by shifting policing resources from enforcement and punishment to alternative responses to Oaklanders’ calls for assistance, and to investments that address the root causes of violence, poverty, and crime.
The groundswell of activism around the televised murder of George Floyd, along with decades of organizing to hold local law enforcement accountable for the deaths of Oscar Grant, Richard Perkins, Demouria Hogg, Erik Salgado, Mario Woods, Stephon Clark and now Mario Gonzalez, has brought us to a moment where elected officials and community groups are collectively redefining public safety.
A holistic understanding of what it means to be safe — having housing one can afford, high-quality childcare, well-resourced public schools, good-paying jobs, health care for all, and more — is essential for people-centered alternatives to the punitive carceral state. A bold financial commitment is also necessary to achieve these conditions of safety.
Our resolution includes important recommendations from the task force that do the following:
- Reduce situations that could lead to escalation and police violence,
- Provide the most appropriate response to service calls, including those that do not require a sworn, armed police officer, and
- Address the root causes of violence and poverty.
Let’s keep working together to make Oakland a leader in creating a public safety system that saves lives, increases community wellness, and focuses police resources on violent crime.
In this newsletter, you’ll find information about:
- Important items for Monday’s Special Council meeting on reimagining public safety and Tuesday’s Council meeting focused on homelessness solutions
- Updates on the City Budget and our District 2 Budget Town Hall on May 12
- San Antonio Park Master Planning Process
- New Affordable Housing at Brooklyn Basin
- City and District 2 news and resources
Council President + District 2, City of Oakland
Monday 5/3: Special Council Meeting Preview
Prioritizing Recommendations for Reimagining Public Safety in FY 2021-23 Budget
At this coming Monday, May 3rd’s 2pm Special City Council meeting:
- Item S4: We’ll consider a resolution by Councilmember Fife and co-sponsored by me to prioritize a subset of recommendations from the Reimagining Public Safety Task Force for Council to integrate in the FY 2021-23 budget to be adopted by June 30. Learn more in my letter above.
Tuesday 5/4: Council Meeting Preview
Identifying Sites for Homeless Interventions + Coordinating Solutions with Alameda County
The following items will be discussed at this coming Tuesday, May 4th’s 1:30pm City Council meeting:
Item 7: Report on progress towards identifying sites in each Council district for homeless interventions. Join our call for solutions that:
- use every parcel of public land and acquire hotels and vacant buildings to house the unsheltered and create deeply affordable housing;
- build modular housing, stand up new dignified shelters, co-governed encampments, and create more safe, clean RV and car parking sites; and
- call on Alameda County to increase their investment in homelessness solutions, as well as mental health and substance abuse resources for Oakland’s unhoused.
- Item S13: City Auditor’s homeless audit, which finds that since 2017, Oakland’s Encampment Management Team has operated without a strategy or budget to address this crisis, and data to evaluate millions in spending is inconsistent or non-existent. See my statement on the audit here. Read more in Oaklandside on this audit, which I commissioned.
- Item S12: Resolution from me and Vice Mayor Kaplan to have my office convene a meeting with the Alameda County Board of Supervisors to work together on homelessness and public health solutions, including allocation of the County's Measure W funds.
- Item S14: Amendments to Rent Ordinance and Rent Adjustment Program Regulations.
- Item 2.10: State funds for several projects, including in District 2 the rehabilitation of the E. 20th St. stairpath and Foothill Blvd. Pedestrian safety improvements around Franklin Elementary.
Updates on Oakland’s 2-Year Budget
Join Our Budget Town Hall on May 12
On Friday, Council was informed that the Mayor would not publish her proposed budget as legally required on May 1, by our budget transparency and public participation law and City budget timeline. This delay means Council and the public will only have 3-4 days to review a 500+ pages document before the Council's May 10 budget hearing.
I'll continue to work with Oaklanders for a budget that delivers a just recovery for our most impacted residents and workers. You can get involved in our City budget — check out these resources and upcoming events:
- See the Budget Basics Town Hall I held in March;
- Make your voice heard by completing our budget survey in English, Chinese, Vietnamese or Spanish; and
Join my upcoming Budget Town Hall on May 12 co-hosted with Oakland Chinatown Coalition at Lincoln Square Park or participate virtually.
San Antonio Park Master Planning Process
Amplifying Community Needs & Visions
The City launched a Master Planning process for San Antonio Park in January “to surface and organize community needs and goals for the park, and to set shared priorities, especially for services and programming.” My goals are to lift up community voices and priorities in this process and ensure that the City does robust and authentic community engagement.
In March, I met with Oakland leaders to hear from them directly about their visions and goals for San Antonio Park. Check out our Facebook Live here.
I want you to know that I am advocating for you and have shared with the City Administrator your concerns about the community engagement process and the potential relocation of Fire Station 4 to the park. Our advocacy is resulting in more meaningful community engagement and transparency. The City Administrator has told me the master plan will be presented to the Parks & Rec Advisory Commission in July, instead of May; and the City will share more information on options for the Fire Station.
Recently, a new Friends of San Antonio Park has formed including San Antonio Family Resource Center, Trybe, East Bay Asian Youth Center (EBAYC), Lotus Bloom, Eastside Arts Alliance, the San Antonio Hills Neighborhood Association, and park steward Wendy Jung. They have developed a community vision for the park which they will share in a future community meeting. I support this vision and look forward to sharing meeting information as soon as it’s available.
New Affordable Housing at Brooklyn Basin
Props to community organizations
We celebrated new affordable housing at Brooklyn Basin with Midpen Housing — 211 new units for families and seniors earning up to 60% AMI.
Huge appreciations to the original Oak-to-Ninth Coalition, which began the community benefits organizing 17 years ago — Asian Pacific Environmental Network, East Bay Asian Youth Center, Faith in Action East Bay and East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy. I was part of the coalition with EBASE all those years ago! The coalition and many others have continued to implement this Community Benefits Agreement with Signature Properties and the City of Oakland. Special shout out to former Oakland Mayor Jean Quan who kept this project alive at a time when investment in Oakland was scarce.
Thank you to Civic Design Studio and OUSD & Laney College teachers and students for the beautiful community artwork in the building.
I also want to acknowledge that these units were built by Oaklanders with good union jobs—another huge accomplishment in this community benefits agreement. It takes so much to bring complex mixed-use developments like this to fruition. This is the type of City, private and community partnership that will continue to move the City of Oakland forward with more affordable housing and good jobs for the people of Oakland.
In case you missed my special announcement on Friday, we celebrated another affordable housing victory. The City of Oakland announced awards of $4.13 million to two community land trusts. This is the second round of awards from the program my office initiated in the last 2019-21 City budget cycle to create more permanently affordable housing through community land trusts that take housing off of the speculative market and ensure it stays in the hands of working-class Oaklanders for long term community ownership and nonprofit stewardship. Deep appreciation to the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE), Oakland Community Land Trust (OakCLT) and others for their leadership and organizing to acquire, rehabilitate and preserve affordable housing as a key anti-displacement strategy.
City + District 2 News and Resources
Grants for Restaurants + Small Biz
COVID-19 Vaccine Updates: The Oakland Coliseum vaccination site remains open to those who live or work in Alameda County and Contra Costa, with 8 drive-through lanes as well as walk-up appointments. Vaccine appointments are available at MyTurn.ca.gov or by calling 833-422-4255. Over 1 million vaccine doses have been administered to Alameda County residents, and more than 430K residents are fully vaccinated.
Economic Recovery Survey: Business owners and nonprofit leaders + workers, help the city's Economic & Workforce Development Department to develop a just and equitable economic recovery plan to assist our small businesses in reopening and thriving. Share your thoughts in English, Chinese, Spanish, or Vietnamese.
Small Business Week: This coming week, May 2 to 8, Oakland will celebrate Small Business Week with more than a dozen multilingual webinars, virtual events and other activities for small business owners and entrepreneurs. See the full schedule and registration links.
CA Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program: Round 6 of funding for grant awards of $5-$25K close on Tuesday, May 4. New applicants should apply through a partner found at CAReliefGrant.com. Learn more here about funding rounds, application windows and eligibility.
Restaurant Revitalization Fund: Independent food service or drinking establishments – including caterers, brewpubs, taprooms, and tasting rooms – that have 20 or fewer locations and are not publicly traded can apply starting Monday, May 3 for grants to cover payroll and benefits, mortgage/rent, utilities, and more. Join an info session and learn how to apply.
Earth Day Chinatown Clean-Up: Gratitude for the wonderful volunteers who came out in the rain to clean up and beautify our Chinatown streets and parks. Thank you to OCA East Bay and Asian Health Services for organizing and co-hosting this Pick-It-Up!
Parking Ticket Payment Plans: The city has launched payment plans available for low income individuals (income driven payment plan) and individuals with over $250 in unpaid Oakland parking citations. Learn more here or call 510-238-7475 or 510-238-3816.
Oakland Poet Laureate: The city's Cultural Affairs Division is accepting nominations for the new Oakland 2021-23 Poet Laureate Program! The program's main goal is to make poetry more accessible across Oakland, while promoting an understanding of the transformative power of this art form. Nominations accepted through May 19 at bit.ly/oakpoet. Reach out to [email protected] with questions.
Oakland Police Commission: Apply to be on the OPC by Tuesday, June 15 to help oversee the Oakland Police Department's policies, practices, and customs to meet national standards of constitutional policing and to oversee the Community Police Review Agency which investigates police misconduct and recommends discipline.