Oakland, CA: (May 18, 2020) – Today, Oakland Council President Rebecca Kaplan, who serves as Oakland’s Council Member At-Large, announced a bold “Agenda for Healthy Transition and a Just Recovery Plan.”
The City of Oakland remains in the local State of Emergency that the City Administrator declared on March 9, 2020 due to the COVID-19 outbreak, and under the health restrictions issued by the state of California and Alameda County, which are both undergoing transitions. As the community continues to deal with COVID-19, and there continues to be increasing evidence of disparities in experiences and treatment, and economic impacts, Kaplan’s proposals acknowledge that we must take further action to ensure a healthy transition and a just recovery.
Council President Kaplan stated, “We cannot wait to take action to protect the health of our community, both for those who are disproportionately suffering the impacts of COVID-19, and to ensure economic justice with a meaningful recovery plan. We have seen disproportionate deaths in the African American community, along with frequent denial of healthcare. Our Latinx community is also disproportionately impacted, including many who have been ordered to show up at work, often without adequate protections. We must acknowledge that economic suffering will not heal itself — we must take action to ensure a just recovery, so that those who have suffered the most do not continue to be left behind. For all these reasons, I am sharing this plan for a healthy transition and a just recovery.”
Kaplan pointed out that support for the economy and for those who are struggling cannot wait. The Council President is urging the Council to take immediate action to ensure the timely launch and revised safe programming for our summer jobs and summer food programs, stating: “By making sure that there is access to jobs with safety practices, and healthy food for those in our community in need, we can reduce the suffering, both in terms of public health and our economy, and provide the needed foundation for a just recovery.”
Council President Kaplan proposes a 13 point agenda that has equity and justice for our community, with a plan for a meaningful recovery:
“The Agenda for A Healthy Transition and a Just Recovery”
Ensure Health Protections for Workers (which also prevents community spread among the public), Including the Provision of Adequate Protective Equipment And Protection From Being Forced to Come to Work When Sick, As We Take Thoughtful Steps to Get Our Economy on Firmer Footing1
Improve Community Access to Testing and Treatment, Especially for Those Disproportionately Impacted, Including our Latinx and African-American Communities.
Provide Expanded Economic Opportunity With Safe Health Guidelines in Our Youth Summer Jobs Programs2 and Commit to Youth Involvement in A Healthier Future, Including With the Right to Vote and Civic Engagement3
Support Access To Food Programs, Including the Summer Food Programs4
Protect Public Health, With Expanded Public Access to Hand Washing Stations and Toilets5
Library Alternative Programs, such as Book Delivery and Expanded Internet access
Expand Homeless Remedies with Safe Distancing Options, Including Allowing RVs On Private Lots with Sanitation Solutions6
Provide Meaningful Support to Local Small Businesses, including Making It Easier to Make Changes to Layout and Systems to Accommodate Public Health Needs, and Online Permitting
Provide Safer Housing options with Expanded Uses for Hotels7
Streamline Process for Affordable Housing Construction
Strengthen Jobs Training Pipeline to Careers in the Construction Trades and Related industries8
Expand Local Access to Community Health Clinics and Job Training in Health Care
Prevent Violence by Taking Illegal Guns Off the Streets with Expanded Gun Tracing and a Crackdown on Illegal Gun Dealing9
The items on the Agenda for a Just Recovery include legislation that Council has already adopted, along with items coming this week and to future meetings. On May 19th, the Oakland City Council will address the issues of Youth Summer Jobs Programs and Food Service Programs. The Jobs Training Pipeline, funding for installation of hand washing stations and toilets, authorization to use hotels for housing, and funding for improved gun tracing, have already been previously adopted by the Council, and they continue to advocate for the administration to fully implement them. These programs for a Healthy Transition and a Just Recovery represent an opportunity to innovate and solve some of our Oakland’s most pressing issues.
The Council President’s plan is attentive to those who have been hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic. Kaplan and others recognize that we cannot ignore those who have been left behind, if our recovery is to be just and equitable, benefitting all of our community.
Council President Kaplan looks forward to working with her colleagues and stakeholders to implement this “Agenda for a Healthy Transition and a Just Recovery” rapidly to help protect our community. COVID-19 has been devastating, and risks further harms and increased suffering. Everyone should have an opportunity to have their health protected and take part in the recovery.