2018 Oakland Mayoral And City Council Candidate Questionnaire by Zennie62Media
This 20-question questionnaire was designed to give Oaklanders a chance to evaluate, at once, the plans and philosophies of all of the participants in the Oakland Mayoral Race and the Oakland City Council Race for District 2, District 4, and District 6.
This is 2018 Oakland City Council Candidate Nikki Fortunato Bas
1. Candidate’s Full Name and current occupation
Nikki Fortunato Bas, Nonprofit Executive
2. Why are you running for office in Oakland?
I’ve lived in Oakland’s District 2 for over 20 years. I’m a lifelong community organizer with a proven track record of winning policies for economic, racial and environmental justice. I’m a working mother who will do whatever it takes to keep our kids safe and ensure their future is bright.
Oakland faces an unprecedented housing crisis; long-term residents have been pushed out of their homes, with far too many landing on the streets. In the midst of riches, our resources are mismanaged. We under-invest in our youth, small businesses, and quality jobs. This public crisis is creating real tension between old residents and new, dividing residents across racial lines. Because City Hall has failed to take action, Oakland may lose its heart and soul forever.
Oakland and District 2 deserve better. We need independent, progressive leadership – not beholden to corporate millionaires – that will stand up for our working families; our young people and seniors; our communities of color; our immigrants and refugees; our LGBTQ community; and our small business owners, artists, and performers.
3. Have you held an elected position before? If so, please describe.
4. Have you ever served on a public board or commission? If so, please list
5. What endorsements have you received? If so, please list them.
● Alameda Labor Council AFL-CIO
● Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE) Action
● Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 192 – AC Transit
● Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 1555 – BART
● Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, Alameda County Chapter
● Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN) Action
● Bay Rising Action
● Block by Block Organizing Network (BBON)
● California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee (CNA/NNOC)
● Democracy for America
● East Bay Express
● Harvey Milk LGBTQ Democratic Club
● International Federation of Professional & Technical Employees (IFPTE) Local 20
● International Federation of Professional & Technical Employees (IFPTE) Local 21
● International Union of Painters & Allied Trades (IUPAT) District Council 16
● John George Democratic Club
● National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW)
● Oakland Justice Coalition
● Oakland Post
● Oakland Rising Action
● Our Revolution – East Bay
● Planned Parenthood Advocates Mar Monte (#2 endorsement)
● Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1021
● Transportation Workers Union of America, AFL-CIO – California State Conference
● UNITE HERE! Local 2850
● Wellstone Democratic Renewal Club
Elected & Appointed Leaders (partial list)
● Hon. Rob Bonta, Assemblymember, California State Assembly
● Hon. Nate Miley, Supervisor, Alameda County Board of Supervisors
● Hon. Richard Valle, Supervisor, Alameda County Board of Supervisors
● Hon. Rebecca Kaplan, Councilmember, Oakland
● Hon. Nancy Nadel, former Councilmember, Oakland
● Hon. Jane Brunner, former Councilmember, Oakland
● Hon. Jovanka Beckles, Councilmember, Richmond
● Hon. Melvin Willis, Councilmember and Vice Mayor, Richmond
● Hon. Lateefah Simon, BART Board of Directors
● Hon. Julina Bonilla, Peralta Colleges Board of Trustees and District 2 neighbor
● Hon. Shanti Gonzales, Director, Oakland Unified Board of Education
● Hon. Dee Rosario, East Bay Parks District Board of Directors and District 2 neighbor
● Hon. Marguerite Young, East Bay Municipal Utility District Board of Directors
● Hon. Maria Poblet, Berkeley Rent Board Commissioner & co-founder of Causa
● Hon. James Chang, Berkeley Rent Board Commissioner
● Hon. Jane Kim, San Francisco Board of Supervisors
● Hon. John Avalos, former San Francisco Board of Supervisors
● Hon. Eric Mar, former San Francisco Board of Supervisors
● Hon. Rebecca Saldaña, Senator for Washington State
● Hon. Jim Prola, former Mayor of San Leandro
● Hon. Jose Esteves, former Mayor of Milpitas
● Hon. Glenn Sylvester, former Mayor and City Councilmember of Daly City
● Hon. Ray Buenaventura, Vice Mayor of Daly City
● Jahmese Myres, Chairperson, City of Oakland Planning Commission
● Nischit Hedge, City of Oakland Planning Commission and District 2 neighbor
● Jazy Bonilla, Former City of Oakland Planning Commissioner and District 2 neighbor
● Mike Nisperos, City of Oakland Police Commission
● Sokhom Mao, Former Chairman of the Citizens’ Police Review Board of the City of
● Bella Comelo, Senior Commission, City of San Leandro
Community Leaders (partial list)
● Dana King, former broadcast journalist, sculptor and District 2 neighbor
● Rebecca Solnit, writer, historian and activist
● Alicia Garza, co-founder of Black Lives Matter
● Cat Brooks, community activist and Oakland mayoral candidate
● Bobby Seale, co-founder of the Black Panther Party
● Dr. Tolbert Small, founder of the Black Panther Party’s first free health clinic
● Dr. Art Chen, physician
● Dr. Floyd Huen, physician
● Steve Phillips, founder of Color of Democracy
● Quinn Delaney, founder of Akonadi Foundation
● Lillian Galedo, founder of Filipino Advocates for Justice
● Lailan Huen, co chair of Oakland Chinatown Coalition* and District 2 neighbor
● Lora Jo Foo, co-coordinator, No Coal in Oakland*
● Pamela Drake, Drake Talk Oakland and District 2 neighbor
● Elena Serrano, Program Director, EastSide Arts Alliance* and District 2 neighbor
● Carroll Fife, community organizer and District 2 neighbor
● Rabia Keeble, Muslim community organizer and District 2 neighbor
● Josie Camacho, secretary-treasurer emeritus of the Alameda Labor Council AFL-CIO
● Tom Rankin, president emeritus of the California Labor Federation, AFL-CIO
● John Stead-Mendez, Executive Director, SEIU Local 1021
● Debra Grabelle, Executive Director, IFPTW Local 21
● Nicole Lee, youth advocate
● Alvina Wong, housing advocate
● Eveline Shen, reproductive justice advocate
● Jakada Imani, social justice advocate
● Gabriel Haaland, labor organizer
● Antonio Diaz, environmental justice organizer
● Michael Green, environmental health advocate
● Joel Ramos, transit advocate
● Jessamyn Sabbag, Executive Director, Oakland Rising Action
● Kimi Lee, Executive Director, Bay Rising Action
● Miya Yoshitani, Executive Director, Asian Pacific Environmental Network Action
● Zachary Norris, Executive Director, Ella Baker Center for Human Rights*
● Angela Blackwell, Founder of PolicyLink* and District 2 neighbor
● Carlo Gomez Arteaga, Executive Board Member, Harvey Milk LGBTQ Democratic
● Charles Sanchez, Treasurer, Harvey Milk LGBTQ Democratic Club and former
Oakland Library Advisory Commissioner
● Dan Siegel, civil rights attorney
● Anne Weills, civil rights attorney
● Dr. Steven Pitts, PhD, Economist & Associate Chair of the UC Berkeley Center for
● Alicia Caballero-Christenson, Department Chair of Ethnic Studies at Laney College*
● Abraham Ignacio, author and curator
● Reverend Daniel Buford, Prophetic Justice Ministry at Allen Temple
● Servant Brian K. Woodson Sr., pastor/founder of The Bay Area Christian Connection
● Reverend Kurt Kuhwald, Faith Alliance for a Moral Economy, Decade Zero Ministries
● Reverend Sandhya Jha, Director, Oakland Peace Center*
● Joyce Gordon, owner, Joyce Gordon Gallery
● Geoffrey Pete, owner, Geoffrey’s Inner Circle
● Kenneth Boozer & Kevin Pete, co-owners, Family of Choice Homecare and District 2
● Reem Assil, restaurant owner, Reem’s California and Dyafa
● Jeff Perlstein, small business owner, Solespace
● Chaney Turner, small business owner, Town Biz
● Design Action Collective
● Kim Huong, restaurant owner, Kim Huong Vietnamese Cuisine
● Veronica Anaya, small business owner, Aloha Market
● Connie Perdomo, restaurant owner, Connie’s Cantina
● Casa Vallarta Restaurant
● Lynn and Lu’s Escapade Cafe
● Hyun Sook Lee, small business owner, Samurai Sushi Boat
● Babas Waseem, small business owner, Grand Lake Sew & Vac
● Marco Cuerdo, small business owner, Grand-Piedmont Liquors
● Lien Truong, small business owner, Sun Hop Fat Market and District 2 neighbor
*all titles and organizations for identification purposes only
For a full list of endorsements visit: www.nikki4oakland.com/endorsements
Oakland Management Related Questions
6. What are your top six Oakland Budget priorities, and why?
I support a community-based budget and budget process that includes input from
residents and stakeholders to ensure that the City budget reflects the values and
needs of all of District 2 and Oakland. Based on my conversations with voters and our
shared values, these are the top priorities.
2. Human Services
3. Public Works
4. Libraries and Parks/Recreation
6. Economic and Workforce Development
7. There is a projected deficit for the City of Oakland through 2020. Residents want to
close the budget gap via raising revenues. What would you do to raise more money
for the City of Oakland?
The reality is that the City is using the funding that we are generating inefficiently. I
support an independent, thorough cost-saving audit of OPD spending, including
unauthorized overtime, to ensure our resources are most effectively utilized.
I agree that we need to increase revenues and that can be through a variety of
ways. We need to ensure that developers are paying their fair share for the true
costs of infrastructure they need to operate. For too long we have given developers
sweetheart deals in hopes of attracting them to Oakland and now that Oakland is a
valuable market we need to adjust our fees and costs accordingly.
8. How do you propose to solve the problem of the City of Oakland’s under-funded
Our city workers, police, and fire, and really anyone who has earned a pension from
years of hard work deserve to keep those pensions and deserve the security of
knowing that those funds will be there as the retire. Closing corporate tax
loopholes, repealing Prop 13, while creating cost-saving measures in the City can
all help towards increasing revenue and eliminating the funding gap. We need to
ensure that the City is actually paying into its trust fund for these liabilities and not
kicking the can down the road and diverting payments.
Oakland Police-Related Questions
9. Does Oakland need to hire more police officers or reduce the number we have –
please explain your answer.
We need to restructure the Oakland Police Department, remove sworn officers from
jobs that can be done by civilians which will release more full-time officers to do the
actual police work. I think that Oakland can have safe neighborhoods and officers
can respond to calls for service with our current levels. The answer to the issues
facing Oakland and our approach to public safety is not more police officers. It’s
prevention and a community-based approach, including quality education, job
training, youth services and Increasing access to mental health services and other
services that treat many of the calls to OPD as a public health issue.
10.Do you support the work of the current Oakland Police Chief, or is a change
needed? Please explain.
I think that overall Chief Kirkpatrick can do better by the community that she is
meant to serve. Unfortunately, the structural and internal-culture issues at OPD
need to be fixed before she can truly be effective in her role. I, like so many others
in the community, were disappointed and angry over her actions and statements
around the ICE immigration raid recently occurred. The community cannot trust a
police chief who they feel has lied to the public about the actions and intentions of
our police department. There are years of mismanagement that need to be undone.
11.Unreported “use-of-force” incidents are a major Oakland Police problem. How do
you propose to solve it?
Many of the issues with the Oakland Police Department are due to a lack of
oversight and mismanagement that has existed for years. I think that we need to
ensure that the newly created Oakland Police Commission is fully staffed and
funded with the resources and authority that they need to do their job and hold the
police department accountable.
12.The Oakland Police Department is in its 13th year of federal oversight. What’s your plan to get OPD away from federal government watch?
The fact that OPD is still in federal oversight is just not acceptable. The City
Administrator and the Oakland Police Department must work harder to resolve the
issues in the Negotiated Settlement Agreement. The NSA has been a costly burden
for the City and needs to come to an end. I think that the Police Commission can
help move the NSA forward through strict oversight and more accountability.
13.The Oakland Police Department disproportionately stops more people of color, than
whites. What’s your plan to stop this problem?
The Oakland Police Department has major issues with internal culture, racial
profiling, and a lack of trust and accountability with the community that they are
meant to serve. This stems from years of mismanagement and a police department
that is not representative of the diversity and inclusion of our Oakland community.
Sensitivity training is not enough. We need a culture shift that shows officers that
they are a part of the Oakland community and connected with residents. We need a
shift that removes officers that have been shown to have racist or discriminatory behavior. The Police Commission should be allowed and given the resources
needed to weed out “bad cops”. And, we must also end over-policing of
communities of color.
Homelessness, Affordable Housing, Quality of Life In Oakland
14.What’s your plan to stop or curb homelessness in Oakland?
We must allocate more of our city budget to homelessness and continue to partner
with the county and state. We should also ensure our public lands are used for
public good by supporting a public lands policy that prioritizes affordable housing
and permanent supportive housing projects, and designating city-owned parcels for
sanctioned camps that move homeless neighbors off dangerous streets with
sanitation and services. We should also increase resources to provide our
homeless neighbors with rapid measures that move people into stable temporary
housing while we work toward permanent housing solutions, as well as provide
increased health services and sanitation to our homeless community.
15.What’s your plan to cause more affordable housing to be built in Oakland?
We must have a balanced approach to building more housing in Oakland, in the
Bay Area and across the state to solve our housing crisis. In Oakland, there are
22,000 housing units in the construction pipeline and only 1,438 of them are
We must ensure our public lands (the City of Oakland owns at least 36 vacant lots
suitable for housing) are used for public good by supporting a public lands policy
that prioritizes affordable housing. More than 3,600 new units of housing could be
built on the City’s 36 vacant lots.
We must require the highest levels of affordability from new development. Oakland
has streamlined the development process without requiring any affordable housing.
Our neighbors have had affordability requirements for years: San Francisco requires 24%, Berkeley requires 20%, Emeryville requires 20%. With all the wealth being generated right now by development, we need to make sure that it’s benefiting our community by creating housing for all income levels and by paying for the true costs of infrastructure.
We should also preserve existing affordable housing by updating policies on condo
conversions and single room occupancy buildings (SROs) and adopting a policy on
short-term rentals; and advance longer-term housing policies that support
ownership, including community land trusts, tenant ownership, and low-interest
loans for repairs and maintenance.
16. What’s your plan to stop or curb illegal dumping in Oakland?
Thanks to community pressure, the City is finally taking more action on this issue.
We must ensure that there are ample crews; accessible trash, recycling and composting bins; adequate bulky waste pick up including for renters; appropriate street lighting; and ongoing attention to zone-based trash removal in “hot spots”. Our resources must be budgeted equitably across the city and we must have adequate implementation and enforcement.
Economic Development In Oakland
17.Share with us your economic development plan and policy for Oakland.
Oakland is experiencing explosive growth. We must take a balanced approach to accommodate new businesses and new opportunities while protecting long-standing businesses, cultural institutions, and residents who should benefit from this growth and the jobs it brings. Employers in the City of Oakland must be responsible for ensuring fair pay and treatment of workers, and the City must enforce existing protections for people who work here. I have been and will continue to ensure that we raise the floor for low wage workers and that we expand
middle class jobs.
18.What industry should Oakland focus on developing, and why?
I have been involved in supporting and expanding our trade and logistics industry around the Port of Oakland for many years and will continue to ensure this economic engines grows and benefits Oaklanders. I think that the City of Oakland has many other opportunities for industry. We have already seen a thriving cannabis industry which I think could continue to grow while serving the needs of Oaklanders and bringing in much needed tax revenue.
Oakland has made excellent moves to ensure that the industry is well-regulated
and equitable for Oaklanders. I would fully support further moves in that direction.
I also think that Oakland continues to be a leading destination for local and regional
tourism. Oakland has generated hundreds of millions of dollars through tourism and
if we continue to support and nurture our local craft breweries, wineries, art scene
and rich cultural heritage, we can continue to create a destination that will bring in
further revenues for the City.
The Coliseum and The Sports Industry in Oakland.
(A special section because Oakland has a multi-billion-dollar facility called The
Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Complex.)
19.Where should the Oakland A’s new ballpark be: Coliseum or Howard Terminal?
I think the current site at Coliseum makes sense, particularly because East Oakland
is so under-invested. We need to maintain and create jobs in East Oakland, and the
current site already has the necessary transit infrastructure.
20.What should the future of the Oakland Coliseum be, and do you have a plan to
share with Oaklanders?
We should keep the As in Oakland, ensuring that the Coliseum project includes
meaningful community benefits that serve existing residents and workers. We must
also ensure that public funds are not used given the poor track record of stadium
deals in Oakland, and across the country. The Oakland United Coalition has
already proposed a community vision for the site with good jobs, affordable
housing, a healthy environmental & investments in transit. I would work with this
coalition and other stakeholders to further develop plans with meaningful
Zennie Abraham is the CEO of Zennie62Media