“When the world disappoints or disgusts me I remember: I still have Oakland.”
Kristin Escue at the 2nd Annual Party for the Promise.
It’s taken me the past few days to rebound from the emotions that overtook me in the wake of Tuesday’s historic election. What a ride!!! In Election2016, Oakland voters overwhelming rejected cynicism and chose to re-elect skilled progressives to sustain the gains that we put in place over the past four years. I am pleased that I was re-elected with a double digit lead over my challenger. Consistent with polls suggesting that Oaklanders believe we are moving in the right direction, other #SustainTheGain victories include: Council President Pro Temp Larry Reid and OUSD Board President James Harris, Councilmembers Rebecca Kaplan, Dan Kalb and Noel Gallo, and OUSD Board Directors Jody London, Roseanne Torres and Jumoke Hinton Hodge. It is clear that our efforts to improve how we work together to serve Oakland families is working.
In addition the voters gave us overwhelming victories in measures the Council placed on the ballot:
Measure HH – the Soda tax for health and wellness
Measure II – Protection of Public Land
Measure JJ – Protect Oakland Renters Act
Measure KK – City Infrastructure Bond, and
Measure A1 – the County Affordable Housing Bond
I am thrilled that Californian’s overwhelming elected Oakland’s own Kamala Harris to succeed Barbara Boxer to the U.S. Senate. Voters also re-elected Barbara Lee and delivered an upset to one-term BART District 7 Director Zakhary Mallet in favor of newcomer LaTeefah Simon. I want to commend and thank Director Mallet for his service and dedication to our communities. Director Mallet is a bright young leader who served well during his term and I suspect he will not be long gone from the public arena. But the biggest disappointment came when Secretary Clinton conceded the Presidential race.
As the reality of a Trump presidency descends, most of us are feeling shock, depression and fear for ourselves and the communities we love. As disbelief shifted to grief, many of us couldn’t help but feel that we should have done more to prevent this from happening. I felt full chagrin at the fact that the Bay’s progressives were battling each other in local races while not focusing our collective efforts on the national race. Imagine how much more impact we might have had if we had not had to spend money and time on the local races and instead took all that energy to protect the Obama Legacy.
The pain of this present moment overshadowed my victory in my bid for re-election but I am heartened by that the fact that Californians overwhelmingly rejected politics fueled by fear, xenophobia, and misogyny. In a joint statement issued Wednesday California’s legislative leaders – Senate Pro Temp Kevin de Leon and Speaker Anthony Rendon affirmed that “California is – and must always be – a refuge of justice and opportunity for people of all walks, talks, ages and aspirations – regardless of how you look, where you live, what language you speak, or who you love. California has long set an example for other states to follow. And California will defend its people and our progress. We are not going to allow one election to reverse generations of progress at the height of our historic diversity, scientific advancement, economic output, and sense of global responsibility.”
This month I will represent Oakland at the national League of Cities conference where I will seek to understand how other municipalities are preparing to govern under the Trump Administration. And over the next few weeks, I will work with Mayor Schaaf and Oakland’s Government Affairs firm to evaluate the potential impacts on our federal funded programs, job-creating investments reliant on foreign trade, and federal enforcement of laws affecting the rights of people living in our city.
As the Speaker and Pro Temp have affirmed: “we will maximize the time during the presidential transition to defend our accomplishments using every tool at our disposal. While Donald Trump may have won the presidency, he hasn’t changed our values. America is greater than any one man or party. We will not be dragged back into the past. We will lead the resistance to any effort that would shred our social fabric or our Constitution.”
I firmly believe that the nation is looking to those of us in Oakland to lead the way forward and we will do our part. In the eternal words of my hero and Civil Rights leader Ella Baker, “We who believe in freedom cannot rest until it come.”
Today, as we honor those who have served in our military, let us uphold the values and the dream that they and those in the streets fight for – Liberty and Justice for all.
Ever Forward, with DEEP Oakland-Love