• Mon. Nov 9th, 2020
Rebecca Kaplan Oakland City Council President
(Last Updated On: 2020-06-23)

Proposing Budget Funding To Provide Fire Works Response, Fire Safety, Education, Drive-In Theater and More

Oakland, CA – In recent weeks, there has been an increase of people setting off fireworks throughout our community, often late at night, and extensively. Fireworks are not permitted, they are disrupting our community, and also create a growing risk of fire danger as it gets hotter. With COVID cases continuing to grow, and many in our community struggling, we should not be taking any risks of worsening respiratory disease and displacement with the risk of fires. Large explosions throughout the night can be harmful to newborn babies, seniors and people living with PTSD. Meanwhile, our planet is facing record-breaking high temperatures, which puts us at greater risk. Oakland has faced large and devastating fires in the past, and has flammable materials which risk spread of fires.

Kaplan Budget Adjustments
Kaplan Budget Adjustments

In order to ensure that we can provide adequate response, as well as education and outreach to support fire prevention and community safety, and respond to community concerns, I am proposing funding in the budget to provide response, via the Oakland Fire Department. In my proposed Amendments for the mid-cycle budget, I am seeking $400,000 in funding for fire prevention outreach and $200,000 for dispatching firefighters to respond to fireworks, and firework retrieval.

To view my Mid-Cycle Budget Amendment click link: https://oakland.legistar.com/View.ashx?M=F&ID=8629225&GUID=60547246-0249-484A-8CB9-03EF40D77B14

I am also seeking funding for other ways to protect our community, including air quality and health improvements in our public facilities, violence prevention programs and more.

Firework Turn In

Currently, the fire department is providing collection bins for fireworks at fire stations. The Fire Department is ready to receive fireworks, to safely dispose of them and reduce risk to our community.

The Right Responders for the Job

As many more in our communities are discussing ways to make sure we have appropriate responses for public needs, and not assume that armed police are who must be sent for every call, we are advocating to fund civilian mental health response for mental health needs, that civilians should handle special events permitting and more. In this example, we can and should dispatch fire fighters in response to fireworks — which are a fire danger. The choice should not be between sending police and having no response at all — rather, about sending the right response for the need.

Drive-in Theater and Other Community Opportunities

We also recognize that it is important for people to have other things to do, both for our economy, and for people’s state of mind and for positive outlets. The Alameda County health officer has stated that drive-in events are allowed. Thus, we are working to help support setting up for accommodation of drive-in movies, religious services, and other events to be able to take place with safe distancing. We have begun discussions about providing such facilities in the parking lot of the Oakland Coliseum. The Oakland Coliseum “Drive-In Theater” economic development project can provide jobs and revenue, and additional space for entertainment in East Oakland. It would also be a space for residents who want to watch a movie, have a church service, or participate in other events while being outdoors, and continuing the practice of “social distancing.” Our budget proposal includes funding to help this happen.

In addition, we have proposed to provide COVID-related support funding for our local small businesses, including a grant program in partnership with our ethnic Chambers of Commerce to help our local businesses adapt to COVID needs. We have also proposed funding to support local non-profits and public facilities, to make revisions and improvements to be able to provide services safely.

These items will be discussed as part of the budget meeting, 6/23. Full agenda at https://oakland.legistar.com/View.ashx?M=A&ID=794619&GUID=CCFB8D3E-A611-41EF-8848-6CCE9F2D5AFD

Best wishes and health to you

Rebecca Kaplan

Rebecca Kaplan

Rebecca Kaplan

Rebecca Kaplan is Oakland's 3-Term At-Large Councilmember, Oakland City Council President, and former AC Transit Board Member.

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