OAKLAND, CA – The City of Oakland’s budget policy (Link to Policy – Page 12) requires that, after the Mayor’s budget proposal is received, that the President of the City Council produce an amended budget, to serve the goals of the public and the City Council, and to ensure that vital needs are funded.
This budget is a statement of our values as a City, a reflection of our intention to build a healthier, safer, livable, vibrant Oakland.
Today, June 10th at 5:00PM in Council Chambers, (Link to Agenda) we will have the opportunity to hear and respond to the budget proposal that I, as the current Council President, submitted, which seeks to support community needs.
The top concerns for Oaklanders in the budget survey were affordable housing and homelessness. The point in time homeless study in Alameda County shows homelessness increased by 43% over the last two years. (Link to Study) Our budget proposal establishes a mobile homeless outreach team, hires a full-time administrator to coordinate efforts, provides targeted services to homeless youth (including LGBT youth), and funds a pilot program for self-governed encampments. It expands temporary housing options such as tiny homes and RVs with safe spaces to park, and provides funds for storage space, mobile showers, and restrooms for our unsheltered neighbors, and to hire the homeless to help improve Oakland. The proposal expands pro-active illegal dumping removal and strengthens the enforcement and rewards program to make people stop dumping on Oakland, and expands support for job training and preparedness, and youth summer jobs.
Many of our neighborhoods, especially in East Oakland, lack adequate access to healthy food. My proposed budget amendment includes funding for heathy food corner store conversions, East Oakland business development and dedicated staff to ensure focus.
I would also like to reiterate that I am not cutting OakDOT but rather asking for issues brought to us by the business and local community to be fixed. (Link to Letter)
Our amendments also ensure that survivors of violent crime are provided with support services and that we take action to reduce violence. We are also exploring and launching new innovations including pilot money to explore the CAHOOTS model for responding to mental health situations without needing to always rely on police for response, (as recommended by the Police Commission), reducing incarceration, and also piloting models for homeless response which have been found successful in other cities.
We are making it easier to get projects permitted and completed in Oakland, including specifically for small property owners, people seeking to add ADUs (accessory dwelling units, also known as “in-law units”). We are launching new innovations including evening hours for people to be able to get their questions answered and get their permits.
Our Amendment rejects the Mayor’s proposed cut of 8.5 parks maintenance workers, which was planned to be handled by eliminating upkeep for over 30 community parks, many in areas which are struggling and cannot afford the blight and loss of access to healthy recreation which would be caused by leaving parks in disrepair. We have the opportunity to insist on a budget that responds to community needs.
We have analysis showing the historical and expected revenues over the last 7 years. Please see the link for information. (Link to Historic Under Projection)
Rebecca Kaplan is Oakland’s 3-Term At-Large Councilmember