I am pleased to announce my campaign for re-election as the Councilmember for Oakland District 3.
It was different when I began my long-shot bid in 2012, when all I had was the encouragement of my pastor, the support of a few friends and the belief that my practical experience as an affordable housing leader could add value to the Council. Back then, few believed a political outsider, with no name recognition and even less money would be elected to a changing Oakland. While they doubted, our faith and our coalition grew. We united District 3 with one simple quest: to make Oakland better.
Oakland IS better
I set out to serve District 3 with a focus on jobs, public safety, quality of life, education and a desire to restore public trust. In just three years we have grown the economy to produce jobs, improved public safety, strengthened education partnerships, protected arts and cultural institutions, increased funding for affordable housing, supported future growth and improved how government serves us.
On Public Safety
We significantly improved the staffing, performance, trust and oversight of the Oakland Police Department. We have added 150 officers to the force, increased funding for career services for the unemployed and those who were formerly incarcerated and fulfilled our mandate to civilianize the complaint system with increased funding for the Citizens Police Review Board. I also led the effort to pass Measure Z parcel tax (with 70%+ approval) that secures $30 Million annually to pay for additional community policing officers and community-based intervention and prevention services to reduce violent crime.
On the Economy
I led efforts that established dedicated funding for the affordable housing trust fund, secured funding for the West Oakland Job Resource Center, established an Impact Fee on new developments to provide certainty for developers and generate funds for affordable housing, parks and libraries, led efforts to complete three Specific Area plans, helped more than a dozen first generation Oakland college students obtain paid internships in the development and construction field, attracted four new hotel developments, secured the first full service grocer and pharmacy to District 3 in over a decade, created the Black Arts Movement and Business District, saved 100s of West Oakland jobs by supporting our locally-controlled recycling company CWS and backed a plan that promises to bring over 100,000 square feet of retail – restoring Oakland’s downtown as a major retail shopping corridor as it once was back in the day.
On the Quality of Life for Oakland Residents
I made illegal dumping a crime punishable by law and increased funding for pick-ups, I re-established a joint partnership with Oakland Unified School District to improve educational outcomes for our kids, established the City’s first task force to end the sexual exploitation of our children, secured over $500k to open the West Oakland Youth Center and an additional $500K to fund the West Oakland Job Resource Center that has been responsible for over 100 job placements for Oakland hard-to-employ adults. I fought to maintain funding for Head Start after the Federal government’s cuts threatened to displace our babies, restored library hours, secured over $1M to renovate the historic deFremery Park for the first time in 20 years, secured $800K to maintain Lake Merritt, secured over $300K to support community murals, helped re-establish the Hoover/Foster Resident Advisory Committee – the community-led organization that brings neighbors together to advocate for the needs of their community. I have championed the Oakland Promise – an ambitious effort to ensure that EVERY Oakland child graduates high school with the support and skills to complete college or launch a living-wage career. And I proudly supported the community-led effort to adopt the City’s official motto, “Love Life!”
There is Work to Do
With all that said, I know that we have more work to do. Oakland’s middle class and low wage earners are struggling to make ends meet. Rising rents threaten to remake Oakland in the image of San Francisco pushing our families, artists, small businesses and non-profits out of the town. And, while public safety is improving, I painfully know the cost of our failures.
I love me some Oakland! I love her history, her heritage and her promise. I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to serve in this vibrant, eclectic, diverse city I call home. With your continued support we will make Oakland more just, safe, equitable, creative and prosperous.
With Deep Oakland Love,