A COVID-19 Recovery that Honors Our Oakland Values and Leaves No One Behind
As your City Councilmember At-Large, I will work with our Mayor and fellow councilmembers to lead a comprehensive recovery built on a foundation of our shared Oakland values and principles.
Lead with Our OAKLAND VALUES
As we lead our city through this unprecedented crisis, our north star must always be the Oakland values that we share.
Oakland First: Let’s focus on our community and prioritize compassion, understanding, equity, and justice. We will need to do a better job of connecting City Hall to the community, so we reach everyone.
Be Humble: We will listen to all sides, leave our egos at the door, and embrace new levels of collaboration that haven’t been seen before. Everyone must be heard. People are hurting.
Do Everything Possible: No gimmicks, no political stunts, no grandstanding. We need competent and steady leadership that follows through on our commitments.
Unleash Oakland’s Creative Spirit: Our diverse and innovative city can find new and creative solutions to this unprecedented challenge.
EVERYONE Must Share in this Recovery
We must honor our city’s diversity, bring people from different communities and backgrounds together, and ensure nobody is left behind.
Help for Our Most Vulnerable Populations: We need focused outreach efforts to ensure that people who were already suffering—the economically disadvantaged, neighbors without access to healthcare, those on the brink of or currently experiencing homelessness, and many others—know how to access resources, receive benefits, and get the help they need.
Protect Renters from Eviction: We need to do everything possible to keep people in their homes, including short-term rent subsidies and eviction defense, and we must recognize that the impacts of COVID-19 are long-term and that people will continue to need our help beyond the current eviction moratorium.
Repair Our Safety Net: The COVID-19 crisis has laid bare how broken our society’s safety net is, and that we simply weren't ready for a pandemic. We will look for where people are falling through the cracks, help those people get back on their feet, and ensure we are prepared for the next major disaster—whether it’s an earthquake, fire, or additional health or economic crisis.
Create More Second Chances: Partner with local businesses to help them adopt similar hiring practices to the ones I have embraced at my restaurant. Now is the time to commit to hiring chronically unemployed people, the formerly incarcerated, and those experiencing homelessness. Together we can change lives and restore hope for our community.
Understand the Impact of Our Actions: We must anticipate the impacts of our decisions on diverse communities, small businesses, people who work in different industries, and our own City services.
Budget for Recovery and Beyond: We must make every budget dollar count during the coming recovery and redirect resources to help those most affected by this crisis, including frontline and healthcare workers, people who have lost their jobs, those who have fallen sick, and people who have lost loved ones.
Preserve our City’s Diversity and Vibrancy: We must ensure that as Oakland comes back, we come back stronger, more vibrant, and united than ever. We are one of the most diverse cities in America, and we need to act like it. That starts with taking actions like supporting minority-owned businesses and helping the people who are already here, stay here and thrive.
Bring the Best of the Public and Private Sectors Together
I will utilize my expertise bringing the public and private sectors together to form new partnerships that protect our most vulnerable with new and restored jobs, housing, and economic security.
Local and State Leaders Must Collaborate: We must ensure that our city leaders work hand-in-hand with our county, regional, and state leaders, and—where we can, federal partners—to address the toughest challenges of the COVID-19 crisis. It’s also no secret that our City Council hasn’t always worked well together. As an at-large councilmember, representing the whole city, I will work to change that dynamic.
Restore Our Neighborhood Small Businesses: By bringing local merchants, small businesses, and neighborhood leaders together, we can rebuild the local businesses that serve our communities and employ thousands of Oakland workers.
Help Nonprofits and Foundations Protect the Most Vulnerable: Groups involved in violence prevention and harm reduction, homelessness, housing, and mental health, education, and equity will all have a major role to play.
Unite Community Groups in a New Spirit of Civic Participation: We must bring together neighborhood associations, faith based organizations, and other community-minded groups to work together in new ways.
Get Our PEOPLE BACK TO WORK
As a small business owner who has employed hundreds of Oaklanders, including many formerly incarcerated and chronically unemployed people, I’ve seen the power of small businesses to create thriving communities.
Help Small Businesses Keep Oaklanders Working: Work directly in our community to provide small business owners with tools that work, like low-interest micro loans and City fee waivers for struggling businesses, to keep employees working and help neighborhoods thrive even in tough times.
Protect Commercial Corridors: We must prevent commercial corridors from withering away and becoming ghost towns. We can conduct outreach to anchor businesses, help struggling businesses resolve issues with landlords, and even put emergency rules in place to expand where business can be conducted and meals can be served while maintaining social distancing.
Ensure Parents Have Access to Daycare: Parents can’t go back to work if they can’t afford daycare for their children. We will look at how we can provide support for daycare centers so parents can provide for their families again.
Create New Local Jobs with a Public Benefit: New public-private partnerships can provide support for our local businesses in an effort to create new employment opportunities for our people that will serve a public benefit (i.e., improving our parks and public spaces). Now’s the time to put our people back to work in jobs that not only help them make ends meet but also help improve the broader community.
Make it Easier to Start and Restart a Small Business in Oakland: Trim the bureaucracy and cut the red tape that delays and prevents small business from opening, or—even more critical in the coming months—reopening.
Recommit Ourselves to Tackling Homelessness
Homelessness is a humanitarian crisis, with thousands of our fellow Oaklanders tragically living on the streets even before COVID-19. The virus proved how much homelessness is also a public health emergency. Prior to the pandemic, Oakland developed innovative solutions to reduce homelessness, though Oaklanders had been falling into homelessness faster than we could rehouse them. As we recover, we must rededicate ourselves to tackling homelessness with compassion and action. We must strengthen our commitment to programs that work, while also scaling and retooling them for a post-COVID world. In this new environment, we must ensure we’re prepared should another public health emergency occur, while working to eliminate homelessness in the long-term.
Smart Scaling Up of our Strategic Partnerships with the County, State, and Feds: The City has found meaningful ways to partner with Alameda County, the State of California, and in a more limited way, the current federal government. In an all hands on deck crisis like this, we need to work overtime with our partners to ramp up our most successful programs, while also making sure we are utilizing our resources in ways our partners can’t and vice versa. And we must enable the philanthropic and business communities to step up and be a part of the solution.
Supercharge the Innovative Programs That Work: Invest in the successful homelessness prevention, crisis response, and transitional housing programs that are both keeping thousands of people from becoming homeless and providing needed support to those who are in the worst state of crisis.
Maximize Efficiencies With Our Budget and Spending: Despite progress being made, we still have 4,000+ people living on our streets. With dwindling budget resources in the face of the pandemic and associated economic downturn, we have to be smart and efficient about which programs are and aren’t making a direct impact on helping people get off or stay off the streets. And we must use data—including direct input from people using these programs and their providers—not politics, to decide which interventions to fund.
End Homelessness, Not Just Manage it Better: Oakland provides an array of services to people experiencing homelessness, including community cabins, porta-potties, hygiene, outreach, and more. But we wouldn’t need to provide these services at all if we ended homelessness altogether. We must shift our focus to programs that permanently house people, something the current City Council has not yet done. This will also make us less reliant on state and federal partners, so it’s both the right thing to do morally, and smart financially.
Renew the Urgency of Housing
In my 50 plus years in Oakland, I’ve seen too many of my friends, family, and community priced out of Oakland and even pushed onto the streets. We can’t ignore our fellow Oaklanders living on the edge, people like the single mom who raised me and the people who I grew up with in the projects. As we recover, we have to focus on:
Build Housing for Those Most at Risk: We must prioritize those with the most housing insecurity, and ramp up our efforts to build more affordable and deeply affordable housing.
Ensure Housing Security: We must protect those who are barely getting by today so they don't fall out of their housing the next time we experience a major crisis or economic downturn that puts them at risk through no fault of their own.
Build New Housing for Oakland Families: Too many in Oakland’s middle class are being priced out, unable to afford a home for their family in our city. We must build housing at all levels so stable housing is more attainable and people can stay rooted here.