Rebecca Kaplan Recommendations For Oakland Ballot Measure Discussion


OAKLAND, CA – In the City of Oakland Budget adopted unanimously by the Oakland City Council in June, (Link to Budget) President Rebecca Kaplan and the Council approved $75,000 to poll ballot measure topics for the 2020 election cycle. During the budget discussion a number of areas of concern were identified in which there were significant gaps in funding including homelessness support, parks maintenance, wildfire prevention, trash removal, and water safety.

In seeking to ensure any ballot measure is fully vetted prior to Oakland City Council action, Rebecca Kaplan is requesting more expansive polling than what the city administration presented to the Rules Committee on Thursday, October 3rd. (Link to Agenda Item). The poll presented was focused solely on parks, and did not address one of the greatest challenges of lack of adequate alternative homeless solutions. Additional communication and polling is required, and to be shared publicly, to determine a vision of community priorities and core needs.

Rebecca Kaplan also expressed concern about the impact of Measure AA litigation on the public trust in voting for future parcel tax ballot measures. These concerns were confirmed by the City’s pollster who noted that other taxes and pending litigation saw that support for a proposed parks ballot measure “collectively did drop off for a bit and could be a vulnerability.”

President Kaplan stated: “As a City, we must work thoughtfully on critical priorities. We need meaningful homeless strategies and options like navigation centers, we need our parks to be maintained with a real commitment to trash removal, bathroom maintenance, and more, to ensure our parks are usable. A ballot measure being prepared should address these core priorities and include the public in the process. The next poll should include issues of homelessness, fire prevention, and trail and parks usability and maintenance, including bathrooms and trash, and clean water – and should be presented in a public process. I look forward to working together on those and other steps, such as resolving outstanding disputes, to build trust and support core public needs.”

Specifically, the poll and subsequent ballot measure should include issues of homelessness and services to provide managed sites and navigation centers as well as maintenance of trails and open space, brush removal, and water protection.

It should also include specific deliverables like a committed schedule improvement for cleaning of bathrooms and removal of trash and field mowing that would be implemented if the item passes.

President Kaplan is advocating that the Council work to resolve the outstanding measure AA dispute prior to this item, to remove this cloud and restore trust.

The item will be heard again today, Tuesday, October 8th, in both the Public Works Committee (Link to Agenda; Item S4) starting at 11:30AM and in the Life Enrichment Committee (Link to Agenda; Item S7) beginning at 4:00PM.

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