Nikki Bas: Get To Know New Oakland City Council District Two Representative

Nikki Fortunato BasNikki Fortunato Bas

Nikki Bas, or Nikki Fortunato Bas, is the new Oakland City Council District Two Representative, having defeated incumbent Abel Guillen and challenger Kenzie Donte Smith. Bas becomes the first Filipino Oaklander to serve as Councilmember for District Two.

In the case of now former Councilmember Guillen, Bas scored 51.45 percent of the vote, versus 42.30 percent for Abel, thus avoiding the instant-runoff rank choice voting process.

Originally, Bas was a Guillen supporter. Then, after she perceived that Abel turned against the needs of District Two, she announced her candidacy a few days before Christmas of 2017. I talked about her in this vlog:

Some of Nikki Fortunato Bas Oakland City Council District Two Policies And Positions

Prior to the election, and as part of the Zennie62Media effort to help voters become better informed on the candidates, Bas was kind enough to fill out the candidate questionaire. Here’s part of what she submitted, the entire entry can be read at this link: Nikki Bas District Two Oakland.

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.

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 affordable units.

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.

Stay tuned.

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Zennie Abraham is the CEO of Zennie62Media

About the Author

Zennie Abraham
Zennie Abraham is the CEO of Zennie62Media