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Candidates For Oakland’s District 7 Share Their Platforms

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Aaron Clay

Clay is the CEO of renewable energy solar company Sunswarm Community Solar, and a teacher for the Oakland Unified School District. He believes Oakland and District 7 needs to be a more healthy and sustainable community that provides affordable housing for everyone.

“A healthy community is a place where residents can afford to live, be comfortable and be safe in their home,” said Clay. “Instead, we see garbage on the ground, abandoned cars, and their community deteriorating. More attention needs to focus on eradicating the blight in our community.”

“I’ve taught in East Oakland’s public schools and I’ve seen what those kids go through. Let’s get them on board and allow them to create a different vision for the community. I will also be a champion to our youth and seniors,” said Clay.

“We also need jobs in East Oakland,” added Clay. “Establishing an economic-based green economy would be ideal because this area is the perfect place for it. Light industrial, clean tech manufacturing in East Oakland makes sense because we already have the available warehouses zoned for light industrial which can be used for investments in creating local new jobs.“

For more information on Clay’s campaign, contact www.clay4d7.com.

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Marcie Hodge

A former two-term Peralta Community College Trustee, and current executive director of the nonprofit, St. John’s Boys Home and St John Corinthian Care, Hodge noted that District 7 “doesn’t need a transfer of leadership, we need new leadership.”

“I’m in the residential care business and many residential program owners like me want to expand their businesses because we are interested in serving different populations,” said Hodge.

“The unhoused includes many subgroups that must be considered for intensive support. We have a large population of individuals who have been released from state hospitals and many of them have mental disorders and need medical support.”

“When elected as District 7’s City Council person, my first priority is to address the issue of blight,” said Hodge. “We need to clean up the streets and identify areas that are frequently used as dumping grounds.  The issue of dumping needs to be eradicated and cameras should be installed”.

“District 7 (residents) deserve to have an ability to work and play in a community where we don’t have to worry about always looking over our shoulder.  I want our community to thrive.”

For more information about the Hodge campaign, go to www.hodge4oakland2020.com.

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Bishop Robert (Bob) Jackson

Pastor of Acts Full Gospel Church in Oakland for more than 36 years, Jackson stressed his ideas for District 7 are based on what he has already been doing.

“I have lived in East Oakland for more than 43 years working for the betterment of the community,” said Jackson. “I started the Men of Valor Academy which has helped thousands of formerly incarcerated men become successful and away from crime.”

“I started the OK Program for boys 12 to18 years old; a food program, which feeds 300 individuals each week; the Acts Community Development Corporation, and the Oakland African American Chamber of Commerce.”

“First and foremost, I believe City Hall should address the issue of blight and illegal dumping in our community,” said Jackson.  “The trash, debris and garbage in this community have been neglected far too long. It’s like a Third World country out here and the problem needs to be abated now.

“I will also address the ‘drug stores’ we have in the community. I’m not talking about Walgreens or CVS; I’m talking about the young men who are selling drugs on our corners and streets. We need more police presence in our community to address these types of problems and we need faster response times from the police instead of two or three days later. The safety of our community is paramount.”

To learn more about Bishop Jackson’s campaign, visit www.jacksonforeastoakland.com.

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Treva Reid

Reid is the daughter of 24-year incumbent Larry Reid but her passion to serve is solely-based on her commitment and leadership experience to move East Oakland Forward.

“I’ve only known my father’s career to be working and leading in service to others. I commend him for the years he’s served,” she said.  “It is paramount that District 7 goes through a philosophical, practical and strategic process to benefit us all.”

“Our community must be heard. I believe it is prudent that you proactively meet them where they are in your approach to championing equitable outcomes,” she added.

Reid’s campaign platform focuses on community vitality, ensuring housing stability, increasing career opportunities, economic development and ending gun violence.  She says she’s ready to tackle the city’s most challenging issues with sound judgment, strategic planning and collaborative execution.

Reid’s numerous endorsements include State Senator Nancy Skinner, Oakland Firefighters, Pastor Michael McBride of The Way Church and BWOPA. She is the only candidate endorsed by the Alameda County Democratic Party.

To learn more about Reid’s campaign, go to www.reidforoakland.com.

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Marchon Tatmon

Government Affairs Manager for the San Francisco Marin Food Bank, Tatmon said that there are a multitude of important issues facing residents in District 7 and Oakland.

Regarding COVID-19 Tatmon said, “In the midst of all of this, residents have also had to deal with finding and acquiring affordable housing; pushing for police reform; obtaining employment and sustaining equitable economic development,” said Tatmon.

“I used to house our homeless neighbors and ran a winter shelter program,” Tatmon said. “I know what the unhoused people in this city have to go through. We need to find housing for the 4,000+ people who are currently living on the streets.”

“We will also need to work with developers to ensure there’s enough affordable housing being constructed. There needs to be a healthy stock of affordable housing, while also providing wrap-around services including mental health, drug addiction and information on financial literacy.”

Tatmon also believes there needs to be a focus on police reform.  “The Police Dept. needs to be defunded and the budget should be scrutinized by every line item so we can know where to pull monies from,” said Tatmon.  “Presently, more that 20% of the city’s budget goes to the police but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s helping to reduce crime.”

For more information on the Tatmon campaign, contact votemarchon@gmail.com.

 

 

Activism

Bay Area Officials and Leaders React to the George Floyd Verdict

Almost 11 months ago, the world watched as Officer Derek Chauvin kept his knee on the back of George Floyd’s neck. He kept it there for eight minutes and 46 seconds, but it felt like an eternity. The systemic injustice from hundreds of years of racism and mistreatment of Black Americans was put into plain view on video, and the country and the world erupted in protest.

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Photo Credit: Christy Price

San Francisco Mayor London Breed, the Oakland Police Department (OPD) and the Greenlining Institute President and CEO Debra Gore-Mann issued statements in reaction to Tuesday’s triple guilty verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin, ex-Minneapolis police officer for killing George Floyd in May, 2020.

Mayor London Breed’s statement:

“This verdict does not bring back the life of George Floyd. It can’t replace the years of his life that were robbed from him, nor the life experiences and memories that would have been made with his friends and family. What this verdict does reflect is that the tide is turning in this country, although still too slowly, toward accountability and justice.

Almost 11 months ago, the world watched as Officer Derek Chauvin kept his knee on the back of George Floyd’s neck. He kept it there for eight minutes and 46 seconds, but it felt like an eternity. The systemic injustice from hundreds of years of racism and mistreatment of Black Americans was put into plain view on video, and the country and the world erupted in protest.

While we’re now months removed from the height of those protests, the need for action is as critical as ever. This is about more than prosecuting the officer who killed George Floyd, though that is an important step. It’s about fundamentally restructuring how policing is done to move away from the use of excessive force. It’s about shifting responses to non-violent calls away from an automatic police response to something better equipped to handle the situation. It’s about reinvesting in communities in which years of systematic disinvestment has made it nearly impossible for people to thrive. It’s about changing who we are as a country.

That’s what we’re trying to do in San Francisco. Our Street Crisis Response Teams, consisting of paramedics and behavioral health specialists, are now often the first responders to non-violent 911 calls relating to mental health and substance use. 

Our Dream Keeper Initiative is redirecting $120 million to improve the lives of Black youth and their families through investments in everything from housing, to healthcare, to workforce training and guaranteed income. And our sustained, multi-year efforts to reform our police department has resulted in a 57% reduction in instances of use of force and a 45% decrease in officer-involved shootings since 2016.

While this tragedy can never be undone, what we can do is finally make real change in the name of George Floyd. Nothing we can do will bring him back, but we can do the work to prevent others from facing his fate in the future. That is the work we need to do. It’s ongoing, it’s challenging, but if we are committed, we can make a real and lasting difference in this country.”

OPD Statement 

We all must recognize that this moment is about accountability, justice, and reform. We must be compassionate, empathic, and forgiving, the Oakland Police Department declared in a statement released on Tuesday. 

All sides must unite as one community to effectively communicate. Together we will work towards rethinking policing in America. 

In unity, we will move towards finding solutions for the safety of all people, notwithstanding your age, race, religion, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or disability. 

We stand as one community grieving and healing as we move towards finding real solutions to effect change as we seek to strengthen police and community relations. 

We extend our deepest condolences to George Floyd’s family and all communities. 

Greenlining Institute President and CEO Debra Gore-Mann:

“Today, we experienced a small measure of justice as Derek Chauvin was convicted and the killing of George Floyd was recognized as the criminal act it was. But we shouldn’t fool ourselves into thinking that one conviction of one cop for a killing the whole world witnessed on video will change a fundamentally racist and dysfunctional system. The whole law enforcement system must be rethought and rebuilt from the ground up so that there are no more George Floyds, Daunte Wrights and Adam Toledos. But even that is just a start.

“Policing doesn’t operate in a vacuum. Systemic racism exists in policing because systemic racism exists in America. We must fundamentally uproot the disease of racism in our society and create a transformative path forward.” 

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City Government

Council Unanimously Approves Local Business Empowerment Ordinance

The Oakland African American Chamber of Commerce (OAACC) and Post News Group joined with District 6 Councilmember Loren Taylor to host a town hall to discuss ways to mitigate local contracting disparities.

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District 6 Councilmember Loren Taylor

The Oakland African American Chamber of Commerce (OAACC) and Post News Group joined with District 6 Councilmember Loren Taylor to host a town hall to discuss ways to mitigate local contracting disparities.

Vice Mayor Rebecca Kaplan, and the staff of District 3 Councilmember Carroll Fife also joined the town hall meeting to add their support for full implementation of the plan to bring a more equitable distribution of the city’s contracting dollars.

A direct response to the city’s 2017 Disparities Study, conducted by Mason Tillman Associates, showed more than $56M in lost contract dollars for the Black community during the five-year study period. The purpose of the town hall was to receive community input on potential solutions, including Taylor’s Local Business Empowerment Through Contracting (LBETC) Resolution & Ordinance.

While the resolution was passed unanimously during the Council’s meeting on January 12, questions of financial and operational impact delayed the ordinance’s second reading to this week’s council meeting. Co-sponsored by District 7 Councilmember Treva Reid, the ordinance was also unanimously approved by the councilmembers present in a 7-0 vote, following immense public support mobilized by OAACC President Cathy Adams prior to and during the council meeting.

Taylor thanked the OAACC and the many groups and individuals who urged transparent and regular public reporting of all contracts, even those that are awarded at staff’s discretion for amounts less than $50,000 without council approval.

Taylor said quick action is required because, “Our local diverse business owners are currently missing out on millions of dollars in city contracting opportunities. There is still much work to do moving forward.”

Paul Cobb, publisher of the Post, said “We will regularly publish the names and amounts of  all contracts awarded to companies and individuals. With diligent monitoring we can reverse the drain of Oakland’s tax dollars and reverse the cashflow characteristics to help create jobs for Oakland residents.”

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City Government

Community Support Needed to Ensure Progress Addressing City of Oakland Contracting Disparities

In conjunction with the Oakland African American Chamber of Commerce and the Oakland Post News Group, Taylor is hosting a virtual town hall on Saturday, February 13 from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.During this meeting diverse business owners will hear directly from the councilmember on his proposed solutions to address the city’s current contracting disparities. This will also be an opportunity for companies to learn more about local resources available and share insight on what is still needed.

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Councilmember Loren Taylor with Black community and business Leaders demanding the city aggressively address race and gender disparities.

Over the past six weeks, The Oakland Post has run several articles on the significant disparities facing Black and women-owned businesses who pursue city contracts. We are focusing on this topic so much because the millions of dollars that should have come to the Black community are sorely needed to help improve the educational, economic, and health outcomes of our community. Legislation proposed by District 6 Councilmember Loren Taylor is intended to bring those millions of dollars back to the Black community.

As reported in 2017 Race & Gender Disparity Study, African-American companies were awarded 3.21% of the prime construction contracts and only 0.32% of total construction contract dollars. As it relates to professional services, African-American companies received 2.92% of prime contracts and 0.91% of total dollars. According to Taylor, “These numbers are particularly concerning seeing that African Americans comprise 25% of Oakland’s population.”

In conjunction with the Oakland African American Chamber of Commerce and the Oakland Post News Group, Taylor is hosting a virtual town hall on Saturday, February 13 from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.During this meeting diverse business owners will hear directly from the councilmember on his proposed solutions to address the city’s current contracting disparities. This will also be an opportunity for companies to learn more about local resources available and share insight on what is still needed.

To ensure these new policies move forward, community members are invited to attend the upcoming City Council Meeting on Tuesday, February 16 at 1:30 p.m. and e-mail the City Council at council@oaklandca.gov.

Loren Taylor is the District 6 councilmember for the City of Oakland.

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