This July 4th weekend, I’m reminded that our communities and country still have a very long way to go towards freedom for all, and I’m hopeful that in Oakland we will continue coming together to achieve this dream.
As folks gather this weekend, I encourage us to look out for each other. The City is continuing its expanded efforts at Lake Merritt to manage parking, traffic and trash, as well as deploying Parks Ambassadors to hand out masks and promote physical distancing. We appreciate our City workers for providing these services, and our Firefighters who circled the Lake yesterday providing medical assistance, masks, and guidance to help ensure fire safety and address illegal fireworks.
In this newsletter you’ll find:
- Recap of last week’s Council meetings
- Upcoming Council meetings and important agenda items
- COVID-19 updates on paused reopening plans, emergency homelessness response and resources, parking changes and more
Reviewing Police Budget, Expanding Tenant Protections
Last Monday, the Community & Economic Development Committee advanced two pieces of legislation to the City Council meeting on July 14th.
- Expanded tenant protections that conform local policy with state law; increase legal damages for vulnerable tenants such as those who are elderly or ill; clarify rules for additional roommates; and prevent harassment such as shutting off utilities, threatening to report a tenant’s immigration status and recording video/audio inside a tenant’s home. Read coverage from Oaklandside. This legislation is authored by City Attorney Barbara Parker, myself and Councilmember Kalb.
- “Right to recall” policy to help Oakland hospitality and travel workers reclaim the jobs they held prior to the COVID-19 emergency before companies begin hiring new employees. This legislation is authored by Councilmembers Thao, Kalb, and Gallo.
Last Tuesday, the City Council took further action on the City Budget and policing.
- The Council unanimously approved a motion to revisit budget amendments at our upcoming July 21st meeting. Due to overwhelming advocacy, from community members and organizers to the League of Women Voters, expressing concern about the lack of transparency in the rushed vote on the budget on June 23rd, the Council will have another opportunity to further reallocate police funds to community safety programs. Read coverage from the San Francisco Chronicle.
- The Council also unanimously approved a budget directive to undertake a thorough review of 911 and non-emergency police calls for service towards shifting to alternative responder models, including mental health professionals; and evaluating the potential for creating a civilian traffic unit. This budget directive was authored by Councilmember Kalb with myself as a co-sponsor.
The City is beginning to undertake a policy directive to reduce OPD’s general fund budget by 50% in the next two-year budget cycle of FY 2021-2023. I believe it’s important to ensure that this transition plan is centered around community so that the plan will ensure greater community safety as well as equity and sustainability.
I will continue to listen to community leadership by joining Anti Police-Terror Project and the Defund Police Coalition at a virtual townhall for community input on Wednesday, July 15th at 6pm. Save the date and join us too.
November 2020 Ballot Measures, Encampment Management
- We will discuss a report and recommendations from the City Administrator on Oakland’s homeless encampment management and enforcement, focusing on a range of potential responses, the financial, legal and equity analyses of potential responses, analysis of other city’s responses to similar challenges, and the financial cost of our current approach.
- The City’s recommendations include potential policy directions such as designating no-camping zones and establishing authorized encampment zones/parcels so we want to hear from you on these important issues.
At Tuesday’s 1:30pm Special Rules & Legislation Committee meeting, we will consider several ballot measures for November 2020:
- We will discuss my proposal, with Councilmembers Sheng Thao and Dan Kalb, to modernize and make more fair Oakland’s outdated business tax to generate more revenue for important City services and provide financial / tax relief to our small businesses. My proposal, if passed by Council, would put a measure on the November 2020 ballot for Oakland voters to decide on making our business tax structure progressive, meaning it would progressively increase tax rates for businesses with higher gross receipts. It would help 24,000+ small businesses and raise approximately $27M annually for vital city services like street and sidewalk maintenance, trash collection, and homeless services. In case you missed it, check out my full announcement on the proposal here and recent coverage in the San Francisco Chronicle.
- We will discuss Council President Rebecca Kaplan’s proposal for a general tax on users of transportation network companies, such as Uber and Lyft, at a rate of 50 cents for private trips and 25 cents for pool / shared trips.
- We will discuss Councilmember Dan Kalb’s proposal to remove the $1,000 limit on fines for ordinance violations.
Reopening Paused, Parking Changes, Emergency Homelessness Taskforce
County Pauses Reopening: Though we were moving towards reopening many of our businesses over the last two weeks, Alameda County Public Health this past Monday announced the need to pause reopening plans due to new data showing increased COVID-19 spread and hospitalizations. Alameda County’s case rate per 100K people has increased from 63.2 to 71.1 over the last week. Daily hospitalizations were decreasing through June 22, but since then we’ve seen a daily increase in hospitalizations. See the announcement here and reopening plan information here.
COVID-19 Emergency Homelessness Taskforce: The Taskforce was established in May 2020 in response to COVID-19 to promote harm-reduction strategies, provide links to essential health and human services, and reduce encampment footprints where waste and debris are jeopardizing public safety and public health. The EHT will remain active until the shelter in place order is rescinded. You can submit an encampment inquiry, review upcoming scheduled operations, review past meeting notes and monthly updates, and access the Temporary Encampment Management Policy (TEMP) that guides the Taskforce’s actions.
To report an issue at a homeless encampment, please email the Emergency Homelessness Task Force at [email protected]. I meet regularly with the City’s Homeless Administrator Daryel Dunston to address issues at encampments and will continue to raise concerns and ideas brought to us from District 2 residents.
Governor Extends Eviction Moratorium: Governor Newsom recently issued an executive order authorizing local governments to extend halting evictions for renters impacted by COVID-19 through September 30. For small business and non-profit tenants, Oakland's eviction moratorium now extends through September 30 since it is tied to the Governor's executive orders. For residential tenants, Oakland extended our stronger eviction moratorium until August 31, 2020 or until the local emergency is declared over (whichever happens first). Learn more on my eviction moratorium resource page.
Volunteers Needed for Chinatown Free Lunch Program: It was a pleasure joining this past week's launch of World Central Kitchen and Good Good Eatz free lunch program that runs Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday weekly this month. Nearly 20 restaurants are making 800 meals 4 days a week and that number is quickly reaching 1,000 daily given high demand. This means the program's Chinatown site alone will bring in $200K to our Chinatown restaurants in one month with 20K lunches distributed. Help to distribute food using this signup form or email [email protected] to engage seniors as they wait in line, share services, census forms, voter registration, and testing information. Groups are welcome too!
Parking Meter Operations: Starting this coming Monday, July 6, the City will reactive all parking meters and time-limit parking enforcement citywide. When enforcement resumes, each vehicle will receive one warning ticket as a courtesy to educate the driving public of the change. After the initial courtesy warning, vehicles in violation will receive a regular parking citation. The courtesy warnings will only be given during July. See details here.
Curbside Bulky Pickup Service Resumes: Services free of charge have resumed. Make an appointment by calling Waste Management at 510-613-8710 to schedule a curbside pickup. Learn more here.
Flex Streets Initiative:To anticipate and support transition to outdoor dining and retail, the City’s Flex Streets Initiative streamlines the permitting process for using sidewalks, parking lanes, traffic lanes, private parking lots / other private outdoor areas, food trucks, trailers, pushcarts, and city-owned outdoor property to operate retail or dining. The program is also waiving permit fees. Learn more at oaklandca.gov/flexstreets or by texting “Flex” to 510-380-7360.