Unanimously Passed! Resolutions to Receive $10 Million to Help Save Vital Oakland City Services and Calling for COVID-19 Vaccines to be Made Equitably Available for Our Community
The Oakland City Council unanimously voted to approve two important resolutions introduced by Councilmember Treva Reid and I. The resolutions are;
• Approving $10 million in available excess funds I identified from the Coliseum Authority to help save vital Oakland services and avoid cuts to essential public needs like fire and medical response, and cleaning and maintaining our streets and sidewalks.
• Urging the state and federal government to address the disproportionate rates of COVID-19, by supporting, with vaccines and funds, plans to open sites in hard-hit communities like the Oakland Coliseum site, for large-scale vaccination, including for underserved communities.
On January 25, 2021, I chaired the first Finance Committee meeting of the new Council term, and successfully advocated for strategies to save vital public services, and provide an honest and transparent budget process. At that meeting, I proposed to explore additional strategies to help save vital services, like seeking $10 million in excess funds available from the Coliseum authority to save vital public services. Many stakeholders and members of the public joined in this effort via zoom. The Committee unanimously approved my recommendation, joined by Council member Reid, and forwarded it to today’s Council meeting.
The item on today’s agenda: S2.17 : Approval of $10 Million From The Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority
The Council unanimously passed this item today. The Coliseum Authority has been holding funds in reserve pending the outcome of the Warriors litigation. At the January 15th meeting of the Coliseum Authority Board, confirmation was provided that there is $20 million available, which can be disbursed, to transfer $10 million each to the City of Oakland and the County of Alameda. These funds, along with other strategies, will be critical in closing the city’s budget shortfall and prevent cuts to vital community services and programs.
With regard to making COVID-19 vaccine, more available to our community, the Council also heard, and unanimously approved, Item 2.15 : More COVID Vaccine For Oakland.
Councilmember Treva Reid and I, along with our colleagues on the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority (“OACCA”), took action at their first meeting of the year, January 15, 2021, to approve the creation of a taskforce to make the Coliseum a large-scale vaccination site. The Oakland Coliseum site would improve the equitable distribution of the COVID vaccines in Alameda County. The site is located at the center of the neighborhoods with the highest COVID positive rates, making it accessible for the most affected communities. The Coliseum Authority and I, have been working with stakeholders, including the A’s and Alameda County Public Health to get more of the local community vaccinated at a more rapid rate. The Oakland Coliseum site is also located within the highest concentration of communities of concern, see attached map. We have been working with, and seeking partnership with State and Federal leadership as well, and to advocate for a response that provides that the most underserved communities, including African Americans who are disproportionately dying from COVID, are more able to access vaccination.
MTC Communities of Concern map:
Large scale vaccination sites have been implemented and pursued by other California cities and other states. Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles and Petco Park in San Diego are both mass vaccination sites that are functioning with state support. Both nationwide and within California, there has been inequity in who is actually receiving the vaccine. Data shows that the shares of vaccinations among Black and Hispanic people are lower compared to their shares of the total population. In contrast, the share of vaccinations among white people is higher than their share of the total population in most states.
We need to ensure that the communities that are the most impacted are included in prioritization for receiving the vaccine. We call upon the State and Federal government to support expedited and equitable vaccine distribution, including through the use of the Oakland Coliseum site. We must not allow people that have the most means to travel, or those with the best internet access, to take up all of the appointments — which we have seen happen in other areas.
This resolution comes at an ideal time. A spokesperson for the Biden Administration’s COVID-19 task force publicly stated that the Biden Administration will take immediate action to remedy the documented racial inequities in the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine. President Biden has issued an executive order to advance racial equity and support for underserved communities.
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